Here are some ideas for making a difference even when we can’t go out to visit others who are ill or put the elderly at risk. Where there is a will, there is a way.
We have grouped the suggestions received so far.
Hand-Washing: From Johns Hopkins: This one we need to do right.
Do it Yourself Face Masks: I heard of a caregiver who freaked out (understandably) because while on a shopping run the clerk sneezed very close to her face. Even though, we are told that we don’t need one, we believe that as caregivers we need protection. We don’t want to take chances nor take away precious facemasks from the doctors and nurses on the front lines. Handmade masks offer some protection from a sneeze that may be the result of allergies and also allow us to feel like we can do something. See below links to sites that show how to make your own mask. Some require a sewing machine, others can be constructed easily with a handkerchief or paper towels and rubber bands.
FaceTiming is EVERYTHING right now: A caregiver that could help facilitate that would be priceless…it’s something that could be done while still maintaining some level of social distancing, but would do a lot to bring light and connection to someone. We’ve been doing charades, dance parties, dinners, happy hours, etc. all via FaceTime.
Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.:
Socializing and gaming:
Telemedicine: We had an amazing doctor who did telemedicine with Peggy…a nurse or caregiver could potentially facilitate FaceTime check-ins with a progressive doctor who was open to communicating in this way.
Food delivery, meal prep, shopping: Some amazing ways that caregivers could help…things could be left on the doorstep
I was challenged by my mother’s demand that NO ONE other than me be allowed into her home. It made the formation of a STC group nearly impossible because she wouldn’t even allow me to tell her friends why they couldn’t come in. Grrr.
Someone suggested that I should have started a “doorstep” STC group. I could have organized people to do my outside errands and then leave things for me or her on our doorstep. (As in our ‘Smaller Inner Team / Larger Outer Team STC group’ idea we mentioned in our last Urgent Suggestion email to you.)
We did have someone cook a few meals and soups to keep in the freezer and had frozen plenty of other stuff, including milk. Meals get to be creative!
For Urban Dwellers: living in a co-op building with a Board, we are easily setting up protocols for owners to volunteer to shop for older individuals who don’t feel comfortable or cannot venture outside.
Bicycle Pharma Delivery Service:
Strategies for large families: We are caretaking 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren (3,4 and 5) and 3 dogs here, and ourselves.
Keeping Distance: We are being as strict as possible about keeping distance with others hoping that in a few days we will have an assured clean pod here.
My husband is only allowed to collect the mail and get a newspaper if he wears gloves. Any amazon packages are left on the doorstep for 24 hours to air out! We have disposable gloves but no masks.
Home School: The kids have home school every day except weekends…its more for them to have a structured day. We started on day one with A words and activities and we are moving through the Alphabet. A family circle at the beginning of the day when we sing along with a guitar and we take everyone’s temperature. Everyday has long hiking time on the hills and trails. We end school with a peak and pit of my day and closing songs!
Create a JOY list: This would be the perfect time for a caregiver to work with the care recipient to create a “joy list”…we did this with Peggy…we asked her what her favorite things and activities were, bucket list items, things she missed, movies she loved or had never seen, etc. then we brainstormed as a group to see how we could make these things happen for her in some way…of course, we couldn’t do all of them, but our group had fun with this and got VERY creative…it gave the group something to focus on and helped us to identify simple pleasures and joys and ways they could help (like making sure that she got to listen to her favorite NPR game show every morning).
Please feel free to share these ideas with others and share yours with us as well.
Your suggestions are needed and welcome, please send: MyGroup@sharethecare.org and we’ll share with others.
Sheila and the STC team