If you provide physical or mental health support to a family member, partner, friend, or neighbour, you’re a caregiver. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Ontario Caregiver Organization will continue to share important information with Ontario’s 3.3 million caregivers.
Whether you’re a new or seasoned caregiver, they have the resources available to help support you in your role. Here are five tips on things you may want to do during the COVID-19 crisis.
Consider how technology can support you
Most smartphones, and some smart home devices, come equipped with a virtual assistant. These personal assistants respond to voice commands and questions like, “Call Jenny” or “Remind me to…” These reminders may help support the person you care for with things like medication management and keeping in touch. Smart home devices can also help manage household functions such as lights and thermostats.
Prepare your back-up plan
Have a plan should you become ill or need to self-isolate. Having a plan may help relieve some stress. Expand your circle of support and ask trusted members of your family or friends if they can step in to help if needed. Document the types of care you provide, such as medication, feeding, and so on, so that someone can easily reference and provide the care needed. Keep a list of all doctors and other health care providers in one place.
Attend to your own needs and feelings
Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep a regular sleep routine, and eat healthy food. It’s important to take care of yourself.
Connect with others for support
The Ontario Caregiver Organization offers free webinars and one-on-one counselling session through the SCALE program for those who want to access professional help. You can also connect with other caregivers through our virtual peer support groups, which run several times a week online.
Access updated information
Caregivers can access our 24/7 helpline at 1-833-416-2273 or via live text available Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at The Ontario Caregiver Association. The helpline is answered by Community Resource Specialists who can provide information about the programs and services available in your area, including which programs now have virtual offerings.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization website has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage that offers information and tip sheets related to COVID-19, including:
- Tips for Caregiver Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- How Technology Can Support Caregivers During COVID-19
- Connecting Socially While Keeping Your Distance
- What Caregivers Want Health Care Providers and Hospital Staff to Know (developed in partnership with the Ontario Hospital Association)
- COVID-19 Readiness Checklist for Caregivers
- A Caregiver Starter Kit to Help Those New to Caregiving
The Ontario Caregiver Organization is committed to sharing information that directly relates to Ontario caregivers. For more information, visit their website, subscribe their newsletter, or follow them on social media.