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Caregiving Chronicles

News and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and beyond.

Caregiving Chronicles


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.

How Coronavirus Affects Family Caregivers
By DebraMcDonagh / April 1, 2020

The extra stress of being a family caregiver during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

I am a caregiver to my 81-year-old mother. She is in reasonably good health and mentally vibrant. But like many older adults, my mother's social circle is small, and she often spends a large part of her day alone. 

My Mom has been relying solely on the media's depiction of the spread and risks of the coronavirus. As a result, she is agitated and fearful, thinking about the virus all day long. This stress is exacerbating her high blood pressure. I understand this is an unprecedented time for all of us, so below is the advice I took and used and it has helped relieve a bit of stress from my Mom.

The facts will help maintain a sense of control instead of being ruled only by fear.

We should also stay informed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar agency. They are updating their website content regularly, with fact-based, current information, which is easy to understand. 

As a caregiver, it is my responsibility to stay continually informed with the current facts regarding COVID-19. Hence, as I touch base daily with my Mom, I can relieve her undue anxiety from supposition and media hype - through the use of facts. The rapid spread of the coronavirus is real and can be very scary, especially for someone who is at high risk.

The CDC advises family caregivers to:

Before You Get Sick, Make a Crisis Plan:

  • Who is going to take care of your kids? Your care care recipient ? Your dog?
  • Identify nearby friends or family members who can help and are not in a high-risk population.
  • Post potential caregiver contact information prominently so that emergency responder can find it. [source: wired.com]

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home:

The CDC also offers:

AARP always offers sage advice:

  1. Limit news consumption
  2. Practice calming techniques
  3. Move your body 
  4. Connect with loved ones via phone or video chat
  5. Listen to music, find activities that bring joy 
  6. Get Stuff Done
  7. Find ways to laugh

Last, here are several ways to stay informed with the facts:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Harvard Health Publishing - Harvard Medical School

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BayPath Elder Services, Inc

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.

Avidia Bank

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.