Tips to Create a Plan for the “What Ifs” (Including Coronavirus)

Denise

Tips to Create a Plan for the “What Ifs” (Including Coronavirus)

Denise

As we monitor the spread of the coronavirus, we can put plans in place just in case the virus impacts us. We hope for the best while preparing for the “what ifs."

As you plan, consider the following:

  1. Check with your loved one's physician and specialists for information on symptoms and what to do if your loved one shows symptoms.
  2. Who can provide care if you develop symptoms. If you and your loved one share the same home, what precautions can you take? What options do you have in case your loved one would be safer living somewhere else temporarily?
  3. If your loved one receives care from a home health aide hired by a home care agency, check with the agency’s director to determine its protocol during an outbreak. If an aide can’t make it to work, will another be assigned? What other options are available?
  4. If your loved one relies on important regular treatments (dialysis, chemotherapy, wound care, oxygen delivery), work with the service provider to create a safe back-up plan.
  5. If you’ve hired a home care worker privately, be sure to create a back-up plan if the home care worker must cancel because of illness. (Use this back-up plan year-round, in case your home care worker can’t arrive because of bad weather, quits, or just doesn’t work out.
  6. If you have family in the area and they regularly help, create a “tag team” system that you can use in case your service providers and home health aides cannot help. Determine which family member will stop at your loved one's home, which family member is the back-up, and how communication between the “tag team” will occur.
  7. Be sure to practice prevention by washing your hands, reminding everyone else to wash their hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough with a tissue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has great reminders for protecting yourself and others.
  8. Keep extra caregiving supplies (incontinence supplies, over-the-counter medications, medications, canned goods, frozen meals, water) and extra boredom-fighting supplies (books, videos, puzzles, crossword puzzles, stationery) on hand at your loved one's house, at your house and in your car, just in case.
  9. Create a space in your loved one's house for your own personal supplies (a change of clothes, toiletries, medications) that you may need in case you must spend the night.
  10. Use online services to order medications and food for delivery to your loved one's home.
  11. Check with your loved one's town and county about assistance they offer to homebound frail individuals during emergencies. You can call the ElderCare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or visit https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx for a referral to the Area Agency on Aging in your loved one's community.
  12. Let neighbors of your loved one know how they can reach you in case of an emergency. Be sure someone you trust who lives near your loved one's home has an extra set of keys.
  13. If you work, check with your manager about managing work responsibilities if you must miss work to stay home with your loved one. Also connect with your employer’s Work/Life benefit and Human Resources department to learn about any programs or services that help you.
  14. Check with current services that you use (adult day centers, Meals on Wheels, volunteer programs, phone check-in programs, senior centers) and ask about their protocol during an emergency. Ask for their suggestions to fill any voids in care. Be sure to also check with the staff if your loved one resides in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

For tips on staying connected with your loved one in long-term care during a crisis, read Now’s the Time for Effective Conversations.

What would you add? What worries do you have? Please share in our comments section below.

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Theresa Wilbanks

Dad has interstitial lung disease and uses oxygen at night, so in addition to him being at risk due to his age, there is added concern. My husband and I live with and take care of him and have created a plan to limit our exposure so that we limit his exposure. \r\n\r\nIn addition to the considerations above, when we are aware of the first case in Florida, we are going to stop allowing visitors into the house including our caregiver help and neighbors. I am notifying them now of the plan and will put a note on the door for unanticipated visitors.\r\n\r\nWe are stocking up on non perishable foods, medicines and other items so that we will not need to go to the store. We work from home and while my work takes me into the community, I will stay in and take the opportunity to get that book written, lol.\r\n\r\nThis may seem extreme, but Dad at 98 likely wouldn't survive if he were exposed and we will do what we can to keep him safe.\r\n\r\nDenise - I really appreciate you being out in front on this!

Denise

When you RSVP, you’ll receive an email with instructions. RVSP here: https://caregiving.wufoo.com/forms/z1uyul821nio56p/

Denise

Exactly! I’m surprised by the reaction because every organization is encouraged to have a plan in place. We can’t know what will happen so it’s best to know what to do just in case. Good for you for your diligence and precaution.