Tips for families and caregivers caring for those at risk of COVID-19 complications

bringing groceries to a senior
While all Canadians at at risk of contracting COVID-19 disease, certain Canadians are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications due to their weakened immune systems.

This includes:
  • Older adults;
  • People with medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and/or cancer;
  • Those with weakened immune systems from a medical condition or treatment, such as chemotherapy.
It is particularly important for those at risk of complications to follow the directives from the public health authorities, such as avoiding non-essential gatherings and outings, and routine health precautions.

If you are a family member or a caregiver for someone at risk of complications:
  • Recommend that they stay at home and avoid public places.
  • Limit contact as much as possible; only one healthy caregiver should provide care.
  • Do not visit them if you feel unwell, have travelled in the last 14 days or have been in contact with people who have symptoms or who have travelled in the last 14 days. In this instance, ensure that someone else can care for them.
  • Take care of your own physical health and mental wellness.
If the person you are caring for is infected with COVID-19, follow these tips from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

If you are helping seniors to prepare for self-isolation:
Although self-isolation and physical distancing measures are effective and applying them is very important, social isolation can adversely affect the health and wellness of seniors.

Here are some tips from the Canadian Frailty Network and Public Health Agency of Canada to prepare your loved ones and help them while they are in isolation:
  • Create a neighbourhood or family emergency plan, in which you regularly check in on the seniors in your life and take turns running essential errands if one of you gets sick.
  • Help seniors stock up on canned and frozen food items to ensure that they have enough food for two weeks in case they are required to stay home and cannot receive the support they need.
  • During your visits, follow hygiene and physical distancing recommendations. If you are sick or are at risk of being exposed to the virus, avoid visiting them.
  • Remind seniors to keep their cell phones and tablets charged and make a plan to use FaceTime or video chat to stay in touch.
  • Most pharmacies will do home deliveries, but since this could be suspended, fill essential prescriptions as soon as possible.
  • Purchase prescription medication for a month or more and stock up on over-the-counter medications.
  • Avoid using fever-reducing medications (ibuprofen or acetominophen) as much as possible, as these medications could mask an early symptom of COVID-19.
  • Stock up on pet supplies and cleaning and hygiene products, ideally a one-month supply.
  • Do not forget to purchase soap and hand lotions, to help with frequent hand-washing.

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