Home health aides who live with their clients deal with two unique challenges during quarantine and self-isolation: caring for their client’s mental and physical well-being while also managing their own health and response to isolation.
During this time home health care aides may feel cut off from their normal routine and the people they love as they face the psychological effects of remaining in their workplace 24/7. While the challenges are great, there are ways to deal with isolation in quarantine that can make you, and your client, significantly more comfortable.
Dealing with Your Own Isolation
It’s a cliché, but it’s true! You can’t take care of other people until you’ve cared for yourself, so it is important to make sure that you start to handle your own response to isolation before you focus on your client’s.
- Keep in Touch with Loved Ones
Rather than leaving your connection time with others up to chance, make plans with your loved ones to chat, play games online together, or watch a show or movie virtually. Texting and emails are great, but it is beneficial to spend time where socializing is your only focus, and where the other person can respond in real time.
- Create a Space Away from Work
When you’re living with your client, it can be hard to find time where you can truly relax and focus on your own needs. Seeing as you can’t leave the house, keeping your own space in the home is even more important. Try not to do any work in the area so you can mentally relax in this space instead.
- Stay Active
Physical activity is always important to maintain mental health. However, during isolation you may not be able to follow your usual activity routines. Look for replacements, even if it’s as simple as body weight exercises or an online exercise class.
Helping Your Client Through Quarantine
You may also need to take special steps to keep your client from feeling the effects of isolation. Chances are, the elderly will be cut off from in-person contact with friends and family for longer than the rest of us, which means helping them through isolation is more important than ever.
- Keep their Schedule
Sometimes, when your client has no appointments or visitors, they are resistant to keeping their schedule. However, a schedule will help them stay mentally sound. When possible, encourage them to fill now-empty slots of time with other activities.
- Use Online Tools to Connect
Chances are your client could use new digital tools to help them connect with their loved ones. You may want to recommend FaceTime, Zoom, or Discord for voice or video chats. Your client might also need help learning to use these tools, and scheduling times to connect.
- Keep Active
Physical activity in the home may be challenging for those who typically perform low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, or water aerobics. However, it can be highly beneficial to help your client find alternatives. Gentle body weight exercises, or simply climbing the stairs more often, can help your client stay physically active.
Everyone is different and will respond to quarantine and self-isolation differently. Just remember to be patient with your client, and yourself in this challenging time.