Maintaining Bonds During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges. The economy is fluctuating, with a significant number of people becoming unemployed or being furloughed. The stress of not being able to spend face-to-face time with loved ones is difficult to manage. The quarantine challenges all of us to make changes and cope with being separated from family members, especially those living in long-term care communities. Given the isolation and loneliness that residents are likely to experience, it is more important than ever to maintain bonds and closeness however possible.

During times like these, how do you maintain bonds and closeness with family members living under the COVID-19 restrictions? Care communities are finding different ways to help family members stay in touch while maintaining safety and infection controls. This community created a special way for residents to connect with family members. Another communitiy found a way to help brighten a resident’s day.

Sending cards or notes is another good way to keep in touch. Also, sending a note of thanks to the community can also help encourage care partners. Providing a care package would also show support. Care partners are coping with the stress of supporting isolated residents while maintaining infection control procedures.

It is also crucial for all care partners, those in the long-term care community and family members, to also take care of themselves. As COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our economy and interaction with others, it is more important than ever to engage in self-care. The Family Caregiver Alliance has a great list of resources and articles. As every caregiver knows, you cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself. Self-care will enable a caregiver to be more fully present and able to support and care for loved ones in the long-term care community, especially during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Kathy Dreyer, Ph.D., is the Director of Strategic Projects at AGE-u-cate® Training Institute, which develops and delivers innovative research-based aging and dementia training programs such as Dementia Live® and Compassionate Touch®, for professional and family caregivers; kathy.dreyer@ageucate.com

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