There have long been various concerns about hiring a professional caregiver—someone who is initially a stranger—into your home to help with elder care, activities of daily living such as personal hygiene and ambulating, and even transportation. While background checks and on-going training can alleviate many of these fears, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new worry about spreading illness.
Here are some ways that you can determine if the time is right for you and your loved ones to introduce or re-introduce a caregiver into the home:
- Call the office and explain all of your issues. Perhaps your relative or friend is living with dementia and that is the need for professional care, but an underlying illness such as COPD or diabetes puts them at greater risk for serious illness if they somehow become infected with this virus. During this conversation you can learn more about the safety precautions being taken, wellness checks, and more.
- Check with the local resources to see if the rates of the virus are rising or falling in your area. If the number of cases is dramatically increasing, this might be a time to inquire about virtual care options as a temporary solution. Continue to check these statistics and see if the numbers go down where you live, which could mean a lower chance of infection being shared and therefore an opportunity to re-engage with caregiving in the home.
- Assuming you are in the home with the individual who needs caregiving, look around and see what you can do to create a safer environment. For example, can the care take place in one or two rooms rather than throughout the entire home? Perhaps the caregiver used to help with meal prep, but now you just want them in the bedroom and bathroom.
Caregiving can be modified in many ways as life presents more challenges, so be sure to inquire about virtual options. Family caregivers in need of respite care might find support in online forums as well.