Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

The extra stress of being a family caregiver during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

I am a caregiver to my 81-year-old mother. She is in reasonably good health and mentally vibrant. But like many older adults, my mother’s social circle is small, and she often spends a large part of her day alone.

My Mom has been relying solely on the media’s depiction of the spread and risks of the coronavirus. As a result, she is agitated and fearful, thinking about the virus all day long. This stress is exacerbating her high blood pressure. I understand this is an unprecedented time for all of us, so below is the advice I took and used and it has helped relieve a bit of stress from my Mom.


The facts will help maintain a sense of control instead of being ruled only by fear.

We should also stay informed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or similar agency. They are updating their website content regularly, with fact-based, current information, which is easy to understand.

As a caregiver, it is my responsibility to stay continually informed with the current facts regarding COVID-19. Hence, as I touch base daily with my Mom, I can relieve her undue anxiety from supposition and media hype – through the use of facts. The rapid spread of the coronavirus is real and can be very scary, especially for someone who is at high risk.

The CDC advises family caregivers to:

Before You Get Sick, Make a Crisis Plan:

  • Who is going to take care of your kids? Your care care recipient ? Your dog?
  • Identify nearby friends or family members who can help and are not in a high-risk population.
  • Post potential caregiver contact information prominently so that emergency responder can find it. [source: wired.com]

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home:

  • Learn how to get your household ready.
  • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring the health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Symptoms may present differently in each individual depending on age and other health conditions.

The CDC also offers:

AARP always offers sage advice:

AARP has written a thoughtful article on: Seven Ways to Cope With Anxiety During the Coronavirus Outbreak.
  1. Limit news consumption
  2. Practice calming techniques
  3. Move your body
  4. Connect with loved ones via phone or video chat
  5. Listen to music, find activities that bring joy
  6. Get Stuff Done
  7. Find ways to laugh

Last, here are several ways to stay informed with the facts:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School

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