Despite Coronavirus fatigue, I’m making a plan now.
This is the first of two articles. (Jump to Lessons Learned)
Mom and I live in New Jersey. Here in the Northeast we were hit hard by the coronavirus. Months of sheltering in place, social distancing and wearing masks has allowed us to open the state up for business in a controlled way, which is why Mom and I are willing to engage in carefully controlled visits with friends and family while in this respite period.
Like everyone else, this has been hard on both of us. Mom knows she is at risk due to age and her health and worries that getting sick can mean exposure to the virus during an office visit or hospitalization. Then there is the social isolation. She is worried all the time and it is exhausting for her. At the same time, I’m trying to keep my business going and working hard to keep mom and I healthy. It’s no wonder I have COVID-19 fatigue.
What worries me now is the rise in new cases in states like Arizona, Florida and Texas that eased lockdown measures earlier than New Jersey. I’m not going to lie, it scares me. What is even more concerning to me is the surge in hospitalizations for people who are seriously ill from the virus. I expect to see New Jersey pull back on easing restrictions if cases here start to go up again.
At the same time, I understand the devastation lockdowns have had on our economy. It is simply not possible to keep businesses shut down indefinitely. It’s not good for the economy or people’s mental health. So yes, even though it doesn’t appear we’ve gotten beyond phase one of the coronavirus. I fully expect there will be a resurgence during our regular cold and flu season this winter.
So, even though I have not mentally recovered from the last 100+ days, I’m starting to plan for the second wave of COVID-19. This time our plans will include ideas for our mental and emotional health and not just physical safety.
Cleaning supplies and paper products
- One of the reasons disinfectants and cleaning supplies were, and continue to be, in short supply is that the chemicals needed for manufacturing them come from outside the U.S. These items are slowly coming back into the stores. If we buy one or two cleaning and disinfecting items each trip to the grocery, we will have enough supply for several months of flu season. Included in this list is hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Right now, these are available in our local grocery store. Although hand washing is still better, as a preventative I’m buying these as well and storing them. I used to leave small bottles in my car until I found out that over a longer period of time at higher temperatures, the active ingredient alcohol loses some of its effectiveness. Now I keep little plastic bottles in mom’s purse and mine and refill as necessary.
- Lysol wipes are easy for mom to use, these are particularly important to have on hand. However, the CDC recommends that dirty surfaces be cleaned using a detergent and water before disinfecting. The key to using something like a Lysol wipe is to leave it on the surface for at least one minute, allowing it to air dry.
- For some reason, toilet paper, tissues and paper towels were hard to find during lockdown. Oddly enough, now paper napkins are in short supply. The physical space that paper products take up makes it more difficult to store them long term, which is why my plan is to order them in late August or early September for flu season. In the midst of the pandemic when these items could not be bought for love or money at traditional online sites like Amazon or Walmart, I ordered them from janitorial supply companies and retail office supply stores. Orders were delivered right to mom’s door and we are just now finishing them up.
- Washing your hands for 20 seconds is still one of the best ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Dispenser hand soap was, and continues to be, difficult to find. Recently I was able to purchase three large refill containers online, but I plan on buying more to ensure we have enough for flu season.>).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Mom’s caregiver must wear gloves to perform personal tasks. Without them, she can lose her license. Since we were competing for these items with doctors’ offices, hospitals and other professional caregivers, we had a difficult time finding them. Right now, I buy the box of 100 every time I find it in the grocery store and plan to purchase them online again about the time we buy the paper products. The best online resource I found was a beauty supply store. The gloves were not medical grade, but they don’t need to be for mom’s care.
- Masks that were in such short supply are now available. We have several different types on hand from homemade cloth that can be washed to one-time-use disposable masks and three KN95 masks. Since mask wearing is now part of our lives when we go out and if people are visiting, the one-time disposable masks are the most comfortable in the heat and humidity of summer. Cloth masks are warmer and reserved for winter. The KN95 masks are just in case mom, the caregiver or I get sick. As we use the blue disposable masks, I replace them, but I fully expect to place a larger order in the fall. Since the home health agency does not supply our caregiver with a mask, I supply them since it is something that I want her to have.
- I have found face shields in the store as well and have purchased two, one for mom’s caregiver and one for me.
- I have not purchased any PPE clothing in case mom is ill at home with the coronavirus, but in my plan I know where I can get it if I need it.
In the next article, we will cover lessons learned for quarantining a second time. This includes having over-the-counter and prescription medications on hand, what to do if your loved one gets ill and how to keep mom and I emotionally and mentally healthy the next time around.
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.
Deb is available as a caregiver consultant. She will answer the question: “Where do I start?” and find the resources to alleviate your stress. If you would like to invest a half hour to learn how she can help you, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org