As life begins to transition back to normal, trips outside the home may become more common, necessary, or emotionally needed. Depending on your comfort level, you may choose to leave your home more often under the proper precautions, or you may choose to continue to limit your trips outside the home. Whether limiting trips or starting to venture out again, you can take steps to ensure the well-being of yourself and the person you care for.
Following Recommended Precautions & Guidelines
As businesses and healthcare facilities begin to reopen with precautions and guidelines in place, being prepared to follow these guidelines is important. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state provide social distancing protocols and safety guidelines for public locations. These guidelines also dictate which businesses and other areas are accessible.
While federal and local guidelines must be followed by everyone, some businesses and healthcare facilities have implemented extra precautionary measures. Ensure you are prepared for your visit by calling or visiting the individual business’ website in advance. At The CRCNJ, we have implemented several precautionary measures in accordance with state and federal laws as well as CDC recommendations to ensure a safe-as-possible environment.
Limiting Your Exposure in Public Places
For trips to public places, such as the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctor’s offices, you can help reduce your risk of exposure by:
- Asking healthcare providers for longer prescription durations so you do not have to go to the pharmacy as often.
- Using telehealth services if available (remote services via video conference)
- Not all services are possible via telehealth. You should not avoid going to the doctor or hospital when required as this may affect long-term health
- Using curbside pick-up or home delivery services for groceries and other supplies
- If you do go into a store, make a list so you don’t forget anything that would require a trip back
- Staying at least six feet away from other people, wearing a face mask, and refraining from touching your face
- Washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
What to Do if The Person You are Caring for Gets Sick
At first signs of illness in a dementia patient, call his or her primary medical provider. In some cases, initial treatment may be possible without going to the emergency room or you may not need to go to the hospital at all.
If your loved one needs to be admitted to the hospital, the CDC allows care providers of dementia patients to visit if they play an essential role in the patient’s physical or emotional health.
Planning to Avoid Gaps in Care
Even under normal circumstances, it’s important to prepare for potential gaps in care in case you or another primary caregiver becomes ill. Decide who will step in if the primary caregiver(s) get sick.
- Connect with friends and family in advance to find out who will help
- Call home healthcare services to determine which companies are serving new patients if needed
- Create lists of care guidelines, such as prescriptions and the pharmacy phone number, times, and dosages; the primary healthcare provider’s phone number, meal times, bathing routines, and any other caregiving and patient routines
Maintaining the dementia patient’s daily routines will help keep things moving smoothly and safely for both of you.
As a caregiver, taking care of yourself is important. Take time to do things that support your own emotional health and limit extra stressors when possible to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Regular exercise, healthy meals, and stress-reducing hobbies are all effective ways to cope.
You can still socialize while taking precautions. These connections are integral to your emotional well-being. Talk with friends and use other community support services for caregivers of dementia patients. Rest assured that The CRCNJ is here for you, will help you in any way possible, and will continue to provide emotional support.
CRCNJ Support Services
The Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey is dedicated to supporting our patients, families, and caregivers. We are taking all necessary precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of clients and staff and reduce the risk of viral exposure as much as possible.
Please reach out to The CRCNJ for help to learn more about therapies, evaluations, and support available for you and your family both in our offices and in your home.