March 17: Hope Springs Eternal
As we are each grappling with the concerns of COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, that seem to bring new concerns and challenges with every passing day, Chris and I hope through this week’s blog to offer encouragement and support for all family caregivers everywhere who are caring for the people most vulnerable to the threat the virus brings. At the end of this week’s blog we will offer some practical tips to keep yourself and your loved one as safe and healthy as possible in the days, weeks, and even months ahead.
One thing all family caregivers share in common is resiliency. Whether you care for someone for only a brief time, or for years, you know a thing or two about hope. Hope is what carries us through each day. It’s the fuel in our tanks, the voice in our heads that pushes us forward. Hope is a four-letter word that holds all that is good in our world.
Hope springs eternal for believers. While we are not assured of lives that are pleasant and easy, we have the assurance that when our time on earth has ended, we will be with Jesus in Heaven. That hope can handle whatever is necessary while we live and breathe. That hope yields strength when trials come our way.
You hope you can make your loved one’s life better through the care you give, but if you can’t accomplish this today, you discover the resiliency to try again tomorrow. Hope nurtures the energy to start again day after discouraging day.
Right now, more than ever, we all need to hold fast to the hope God gives us in Christ Jesus. One of my favorite verses in scripture is found in Hebrews 10:23. My translation reads, “Hold fast to your hope, for He Who promised is faithful.” Time and time again I have considered the promises of God in my life, and I have never found him to be less than faithful.
Chris and I hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about holding fast to your hope.
And now a few thoughts about protecting yourself and your loved ones from exposure to COVID-19.
First, have you heard about the concept of “Flatten the Curve”?
Basically, the idea is to slow the progression of the Coronavirus. This is a particularly contagious disease that is very easily transmitted from one infected person to another just through close physical proximity. By slowing the spread of the virus we can ease the burden to our healthcare system nationwide and insure the continued ability to get care for those who need it the most in a timely manner. We accomplish this most effectively through “social distancing” or literally putting space between ourselves and others. Because this virus demonstrates various forms in different people, you should not assume nobody around you is infected. Best advice to achieve social distancing is as follows:
- Stay at home as much as possible, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you are caring someone who is older and has chronic illnesses such as COPD, CHF, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, or others.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. Do this whenever you return home, before and after meals, after using the bathroom, and any time you touch anything that could be viral. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will work if no soap and water is available, but not as a complete substitute.
- Wipe down all regularly used surfaces and fixtures with disinfectant wipes frequently. This includes countertops, light switches, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, computer keyboards, chair arms, and the like. Keep all surfaces virus and bacteria free.
- When someone visits your home ask them before they enter if they have a cough, a fever, or difficulty breathing, or if they have been around someone who has these symptoms. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps you could ask regular visitors like friends from church to make their visits by phone in the next few weeks.
- Don’t hug or shake hands! This is so hard for me because I’m a “hugger,” but I have moved to giving “air hugs” at my office so as to keep several feet between me and the person I’d like to hug. We both laugh and find a little levity in our day.
- Visit coronavirus.govto get the latest information and recommendations to help keep you and your loved one healthy and safe during this pandemic.