Businesses in Arizona are beginning to open up. Barbershops are allowed to open on May 8th and restaurants are allowed to open on May 11th.
But just because businesses have been given the green light doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual. Everyone running out and congregating in public places at the same time could prompt a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Thus, people still need to be careful — especially those who have older family members or other high-risk individuals living in their homes.
Here are some practical tips people can follow to help protect vulnerable family members who live with them.
First of all, stay home as much as possible. Only go out to run necessary errands, go to work, and conduct other essential business.
When it is necessary to go out, you should try to avoid large groups of people. Wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose and try to keep at least six feet away from other people
Everyone should wash their hands regularly, or as often as possible. Keep hand sanitizer in the car or toss a small bottle in a purse or briefcase to facilitate cleaning one’s hands before and after touching high traffic surfaces, such as ATMs and door handles.
Avoid traveling with children as much as possible. They have a tendency to touch things and put their fingers in their mouth far too often.
Immediately upon arriving home, people should change their clothes and wash their hands, especially before interacting with older family members. Remember, it’s possible to carry the virus asymptomatically.
For this reason, people should limit interactions with other family members as much as possible. However, don’t ignore them completely. Spend time with them and chat with them from six feet away. Older folks are getting just as antsy to go outside as everyone else and need somebody to talk to.
Follow a strict cleaning regimen and keep the home as clean as possible. Regularly disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs that everyone touches daily.
If your older family member needs help with daily activities such as bathing and dressing, take extra precautions. Both the caregiver and the person receiving care should wear a mask or cloth covering over their mouth and nose. Before giving care, the caregiver should thoroughly wash their hands. Try not to re-use towels and washcloths if you can help it, and wash them after each use.
Meals for vulnerable family members should be cooked to high temperatures. It may make sense for them to eat their meals alone, or at least six feet away from everyone else at mealtime.
The thought of a beloved family member catching COVID-19 is frightening. However, it’s impossible to keep everyone in isolation forever, so it’s important to understand the risks and practice as much risk management as possible. Thankfully there are many practical things that everyone can do to help protect our older loved ones from COVID-19.
Together, by following a few practical tips, we can build a safer world.