• Karen McPhail

Words of Comfort During Challenging Times

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Aging Rainbows has processes and systems in place to continue providing support and guidance to those in need as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an increasing impact throughout our communities. We are clearly doing all of our work remotely at this time and will continue to do so until this public health situation clears.

For individual who critically require guidance we encourage you to reach out via our contacts tab and to monitor our website and especially our Facebook page which is continually updating information in real time. We have clinicians who are constantly researching and sorting through clinical information to ensure that we are providing the most up to date, accurate, and helpful guidance.

Remember these guidelines below as we move forward:

1. Handwashing is always the gold standard and the best way to prevent the spread of all

illness! Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom, being out (if essential at this time), and after coughing, sneezing, or using a tissue. Hand washing is always best, but if you cannot wash use an alcohol based sanitizer. The higher the percent of alcohol in the product the better!

2. Unfortunately with COVID-19 we know that people can be contagious when not symptomatic so staying in is the best way to protect yourself and others at this time if able. If you become ill obviously stay home, contact your health care provider promptly, and isolate yourself from others! More test kits are becoming available and can even be accessed through drive through options. If ill immediately isolate yourself from others and wear a mask if needing to be exposed to others briefly for testing , medical care. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then promptly throw away. Use an alcohol based sanitizer or wash hands after tissue use.

3. If you are in a high risk group stay home and limit visitors! I cannot stress this enough!!! Isolating is the best way to prevent the spread!

4. Stay clean and change your cloths daily. Hygiene is important.

5. Keep your home environment clean and without clutter. Use an antibacterial cleaning agent to disinfect surfaces and other areas. Remember to disinfect commonly used items daily such as mobile phones, key fobs, brief cases, purses, door knobs, steering wheel, computer key boards and laptops. The virus is said to remain on surfaces for up to three days.

6. Maintain your health through a well balanced diet, good hydration, and a daily exercise plan with input from your healthcare providers. Ensure that you are up to date on all preventative testing and services. Maintaining and being at your optimum level of health is one of the best ways to limit your risk of additional issues, injuries, and health challenges. However, at this time, put off any unnecessary testing!!!! It can be done later; do not risk exposure. Along the same lines stay ahead of the game in case of emergencies and limits of supplies for emergencies by stocking at least a month’s supply of medications in the home and commonly used over the counter medications. As we all know it is now very hard to get masks, sanitizer, and for most vendors they are backordered until the end of March. If you are home and minimizing exposure to others you should be fine even without these items, so do not panic! Remember that common items and groceries are still available online through a variety of vendors and can be delivered for a minimal fee or free. Many pharmacies are delivering medications free of charge. If you need guidance and options please reach out!

7. Take time to reflect! Think about planning for the future! Have a solid, holistic plan in place for the future. If you have not done a long term care plan reach out for guidance as this will give you peace of mind. Everyone should have a good elder care attorney, trusted financial manager, and an RN care manager in place by age 65 (earlier if chronic conditions). When you are home this is a good time to think about these items and start exploring inclusive options!

8. Again if an appointment can wait then postpone it! Ask your clinicians about video calling and Telehealth services. Telehealth technology lets physicians, care managers, and others confer with patients who may not be able to leave their homes. Explore all options! Most insurance companies offer Telehealth! As things unfold in terms of access to testing when needed this is a good way to get the most up to date guidance as you will want to ensure testing available before going out to seek it. Drive up testing and triaging is being done.

9. If your loved one is in a care community they may need to take some extra precautions. The care community should limit unnecessary visitors if they have not already done so, stops trips for an extended period, and even scale down internal activities. Good care communities should advise hand washing upon entry and exit, be screening all essential staff who are entering through obtaining their temperature and basic assessment of health through a standard questionnaire. Many may need to also do an internal quarantine to resident apartments or rooms if cases emerge within the care community. Group activities re to be discouraged. Reach out to your loved one via telephone, Skype, or other options to keep them in the loop and supported. This is important for all individuals during this time as it can become very lonely.

10. Overall try to appreciate the little things. Just because we need to isolate and contain to avoid spread and exposure does not mean we have to be miserable! You can enjoy a good book or book on tape, catch up on some fun programs, do some organizing that you have been putting off, take time to make an elaborate meal you generally would not make if able, catch up on phone calls or correspondence to friends and family, go outside (avoid crowds or busy areas when doing so), and take a walk in nature in good weather. Sit in a park, or other not crowded outdoor space and relax. Try something new at home like yoga, seated chair exercise, painting, drawing, etc. Take the time to focus on something that enriches you rather than something that worries you or makes you feel confined.

11. Protect your mental health. Remember worry does nothing positive. Take each day as it comes and do not let problems pile up! This will all pass, everything is cyclical including the stock market issues which are a concern for many. Hold firm and allow things to move forward. Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, and even meditation to music or guided imagery to reduce stress and to use as a back up in times of difficulty. Take control of what you can and make every effort to feel safe and secure in your situation. Acknowledge the positives as they are still there. Stay connected in a way that keeps you feeling safe and supported.

Remember that everything in life is cyclical and that these recent public health challenges and financial impacts will eventually resolve!

Please stay in the know through our Facebook Page and website along with CDC guidelines as they evolve. Please take care during this challenging time. We are here to guide and support along the way!

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