Every November, Washington state honors the more than 850,000 family caregivers who are the backbone of our long-term care system. This year’s theme is “Caregiving in crisis”. These individuals provide an estimated 770 million hours and nearly $11 billion in unpaid assistance to loved ones, friends and neighbors with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Due to COVID-19, many people have found themselves thrust into a caregiving role, some for the first time in their lives. For family caregivers, their responsibilities do not end when 5:00 PM rolls around, for family caregivers there is no opportunity to “clock out.” Caring for a loved one who is ill, aging, or disabled is a challenge under any circumstances, and the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged them even further. If you are caring for a loved one or know someone who is, there are a few steps you can take to improve both your own wellness and the safety and wellbeing of your loved one.
1. First, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Whatever the stressor, taking care of yourself first will help you provide better care to your loved one.
2. Take precautions to keep yourself and your loved one safe. Follow all the standard COVID-19 precautions.
3. Keeping your distance? Take advantage of technology. Use apps and websites to order home delivery of groceries, food and even medicine.
4. Take time for you to connect with your loved one. Use the time to discuss your favorite memories, work on a project together, make a family photo album or learn how to make a family recipe.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington state is looking to reduce services to over 12,000 clients, some of whom may lose the place they call “home”. Please contact your state representative and let them know to “Do No Harm” to our seniors!
For more information and assistance, contact the Lewis, Mason, Thurston Area Agency on Aging at 1-888-545-0910.
Lynn Ford, Chehalis
LMTAAA Advisory Board Chair