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News and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and beyond.

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Caregiving Chronicles will present news and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and around the world, in-depth Q&As with experts in fields related to caregiving and updates and announcements about caregiving resources available in MetroWest from CaregivingMetroWest.org Program Director Douglas Flynn.


Harvard Medical School - Coronavirus Resource Center
By DebraMcDonagh / March 16, 2020

As coronavirus spreads, there are more questions than answers. 

 
 

Harvard Medical School  has developed a resource webpage that will provide regular updates, working with the CDC and the World Health Organization. It is an infomrative resource that addresses many common and some not so common questions about the virus.

One topic, "The importance of Soical Distancing" was presented in such a user-freindly manner that makes perfect sense to us, the layperson. With that said, we decided to simply cut and paste the content here, with a link to the source, and give full credit to the wonderful life saving advice from the folks at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Publishing. 


What is social distancing and why is it important?

The COVID-19 virus primarily spreads when one person breathes in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In addition, any infected person, with or without symptoms, could spread the virus by touching a surface. The coronavirus could remain on that surface and someone else could touch it and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. That's why it's so important to try to avoid touching public surfaces or at least try to wipe them with a disinfectant.

Social distancing refers to actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. For an individual, it refers to maintaining enough distance (6 feet or more) between yourself and another person to avoid getting infected or infecting someone else. School closures, directives to work from home, library closings, and cancelling meetings and larger events help enforce social distancing at a community level.

Slowing down the rate and number of new coronavirus infections is critical to not overwhelming hospitals, which could lead to large numbers of critically ill patients not receiving life-saving care. Highly realistic projections show that unless we begin extreme social distancing now — every day matters — our hospitals and other healthcare facilities will not be able to handle the likely influx of patients.



What should and shouldn't I do during this time to avoid exposure to and spread of this coronavirus? For example, what steps should I take if I need to go shopping for food and staples? What about eating at restaurants, ordering takeout, going to the gym or swimming in a public pool?

The answer to all of the above is that it is critical that everyone begin intensive social distancing immediately. As much as possible, limit contact with people outside your family.

If you need to get food, staples, medications or healthcare, try to stay at least six feet away from others, and wash your hands thoroughly after the trip, avoiding contact with your face and mouth throughout. Prepare your own food rather than going to a restaurant or even getting takeout. It's best to avoid the gym; but if you do go, be sure to wipe down anything you are about to touch, and once more after you use the equipment. Again try to keep a distance of 6 feet or more from others. Since the virus won't survive in properly treated pool water, swimming should be okay as long as you avoid close contact with other people.

Here are some other things to avoid: playdates, parties, sleepovers, having friends or family over for meals or visits, and going to coffee shops — essentially any nonessential activity that involves close contact with others.


What can I do when social distancing?

Try to look at this period of social distancing as an opportunity to get to things you've been meaning to do.

Though you shouldn't go to the gym right now, that doesn't mean you can't exercise. Take long walks or run outside (do your best to maintain at least six feet between you and non-family members when you're outside). Do some yoga or other indoor exercise routines when the weather isn't cooperating.

Kids need exercise too, so try to get them outside every day for walks or a backyard family soccer game (remember, this isn't the time to invite the neighborhood kids over to play). Avoid public playground structures, which aren't cleaned regularly and can spread the virus.

Pull out board games that are gathering dust on your shelves. Have family movie nights. Catch up on books you've been meaning to read, or do a family read-a-loud every evening.

It's important to stay connected even though we should not do so in person. Keep in touch virtually through phone calls, Skype, video and other social media. Enjoy a leisurely chat with an old friend you've been meaning to call.

If all else fails, go to bed early and get some extra sleep!

FAQs about Coronavirus and COVID-19



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Caregiving MetroWest is a no-cost program of BayPath Elder Services, Inc. and was made possible in part by grants from the MetroWest Health Foundation.

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BayPath Elder Services, Inc.'s Family Caregiver Support Program and Caregiving MetroWest are grateful for the generous support of our community partner, Avidia Bank, which helps us continue to give area family caregivers the information, resources and support they need.