By MIKE DAVIS
Caregiving through the pandemic
Quarantine. Isolation. Personal protective equipment. Social distancing. Shelter in place. We have all become way too familiar with these words over the last month. It’s become part of our everyday activity — a “new normal,” some would say. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly made an impact on all of us. As a caregiving agency, our protocols continue to evolve as we learn more and face ever-changing scenarios in the homes of those we serve.
It is important to note that there are thousands of unpaid family caregivers right here in our central Mississippi service area. Whether you are running simple errands or providing the day-to-day hands-on care for a loved one, your “job” is just plain harder right now. If you are caring for someone with dementia, the challenges are likely one hundredfold.
All the things we’ve taken for granted, like running to the store to pick up some toilet paper and Clorox wipes, are now requiring strategic planning and logistics! And maybe your one and only “getaway” was the barber shop or nail salon, and now you can’t even do that. Other family members and friends who sometimes visit to help ease the load just a bit are not visiting due to the quarantine —– you’re grateful they’re being cautious, but sure do miss the interactions! The examples go on and on.
The one thing we can all cling to during this time is our faith. I’ve heard several pastors speak recently about faith and wisdom — one doesn’t need to cancel out the other.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Proverbs 4:6 tells us, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” This is such wonderful guidance for life in general, but it sure makes a lot of sense right now as we navigate how to care for people in the safest manner possible while protecting the caregivers.
We can’t allow fear to paralyze us, so we must use the wisdom that God has given us and others to approach each day with confidence and clear direction. Our faith in Christ gives us the hope we need to know that we will get to the other side of this pandemic.
Some wisdom I have gained over the last month comes from a few trusted healthcare professionals and organizations, and applies to all of us caring for senior adults:
◼︎ This is not the time to visit in person. As hard as it is to stay away, know that by keeping your distance, you are doing the very best for your loved one.
◼ Wash your hands, disinfect surfaces regularly, and monitor for symptoms — I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it is still very important.
◼ If you are the primary caregiver and must go out for any reason, wear a mask. But first, see if a friend or relative who is not caring for an elder is willing to drop off needed items for you.
◼ For those receiving any type of home care, make sure the providers are wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gowns, etc.
◼ Nursing homes, assisted living communities, memory care programs, independent living communities — these senior housing facilities are working 24/7 to protect their residents. Love your neighbor and respect their policies regarding COVID-19. They are not trying to make it harder on you — they are literally trying to save lives.
With all the restrictions that the coronavirus has brought, you may be asking if it’s possible to get a caregiver when your situation demands additional help. The answer is YES! Covenant Caregivers is available to help you. Our caregivers and office staff are working closely together to continue this valuable service in a safe manner. Call us at 601.856.5660 to learn more.
Finally, my team and I would like to thank the countless people who are working every day to keep us safe and operational. We are forever grateful for the supportive communities we have the privilege of serving. God bless you, and stay well!
Mike Davis is the founder and owner of Covenant Caregivers. He has been working in senior care for over 21 years, specifically assisted living, home care, and hospice. His passion is meeting with families and helping them find solutions for their loved ones. Mike is married to Nicole, and they have three daughters. They live in Madison and attend Pinelake Church.