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Live Life On Your Own Terms

Coronavirus makes caregiving more difficult. But not impossible.

coronavirus caregivingThere’s good news and bad news about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news is that infection and death numbers are starting to drop in New York and other cities. The bad news is, they’re still near their peaks.

So whether you’re a family or a professional caregiver, your duties just became even more exacting.

How do you give hands-on care from a social distance of six feet away? And without either you, your elder, or your client infecting each other?

During the Coronavirus outbreak, is exercise good or bad for you? Yes

exercise during coronavirusYou’ve probably read about how good moderate exercise can be for the emotional and cognitive state of seniors sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about your immunological state?

According to two professors of sports science, the answer depends on three things: What kind of exercise, how long you do it, and how often. “Both too much and too little are bad,” they write, “while somewhere in the middle is just right.”

There are two kinds of exercise immunity, they note. One is a systemic (i.e., whole-body) cellular response to infection, and the other, mucosal, response affects the respiratory tract’s mucous lining – the very part of your body that the COVID-19 virus attacks.

What disabled employees can tell you about working from home

working from home optWhen George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, one of its provisions required workplaces with more than 15 employees to offer workers with disabilities reasonable accommodation. Twelve years later, in 2002, a federal guidance specifically named remote work from home as a required form of reasonable accommodation.

Today, millions of full-time employees with disabilities or chronic illnesses telework from home, and what they’ve learned can help you be productive during this time of COVID-19 sequestration.

Commuting to an office, store, or other place of business to work creates a psychological separation between work life and home life. Disabled teleworkers can’t commute, so they create this kind of separation at home. Here’s how you can too:

See the doctor without having to go see the doctor

See the doctor optThere’s a demographic group that’s even more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than elders, and that’s doctors and other health workers.

In Italy, where actual cases outnumber those reported by China, the Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,629 health care workers – roughly 8.3 percent of all cases in Italy – have contracted COVID-19 from working with inadequate equipment or being exposed to asymptomatic carriers. And sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surrounded by people with symptoms, isn’t exactly a good example of social distancing. “When somebody has symptoms, they may be the last people who should go to a doctor’s office or emergency room,” says Dr. Andrew Diamond, chief medical officer of primary care provider One Medical. “They may be exposing other people – or themselves.”

Self-quarantine doesn’t have to be house arrest

self quarantine 2By now, you’ve probably heard or read all you need to know about self-quarantining and social distancing – and then some. But one thing you haven’t heard is that precautionary measures like these can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, self-isolation can help protect the age group most susceptible to COVID-19 – people age 70 and older – from infection. But on the other hand, it can be bad for your emotional, cognitive, and even physical health.

There’s a vicious cycle at work: Sitting home virtually alone can generate stress, depression and anxiety, especially in a time of officially declared pandemic. Those feelings increase activity in the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that focuses on repetitive negative thoughts. “When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain malfunctions, and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance. And that produces more stress.

But breaking this cycle can be as easy as a walk in the park. Literally.