I'm Going Back to Work--What About Mom?
"My job is calling me back into the office next week, and as the caregiver for my mother, I’m concerned that social distancing is not going to be enough to protect me from becoming infected with the coronavirus and bringing it to her. What steps can I take to protect myself, and consequently my mother? I’m even wondering if I should stay away from her altogether. Since I don’t live with her, I could make other arrangements for a while."
Good for you. Getting back to work will feel good for many of those who have isolated at home for weeks. It feels like this virus has been with us for some time now, and we’re all anxious for life to return to normal.
I do believe that the new normal may not and should not be like the old normal that we had before COVID-19, and you’re wise to be concerned. The virus is still among us and we all need to take steps to protect one another.
One of the things that makes COVID-19 so tricky is that some people may have it, but not display any symptoms. They can be out at work, the grocery store or walking their dog. You can’t know for certain who is positive and who isn’t, or how your body will react should you contract it. Armed with that information, you’ll need to redouble your efforts to protect your mother, as the elderly are the group most likely to be impacted negatively by the virus. My recommendations for you as you venture back and forth between work and your residence are:
- Wear a mask and stay away from anyone who isn’t wearing one. When you and those around you wear masks, you reduce the odds of contracting a virus dramatically. ESPECIALLY follow this guideline when you are around your mother. Both of you should wear masks when in contact with each other.
- Ask your employer to take all precautions to protect you from the virus. Reasonable requests are that all employees wear face masks, that staff not work closer than six feet, that there is a barrier between you and the general public if you are serving the public, and eliminating employee gatherings.
- Wash your hands carefully and often.
- Never touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
- Limit exposure to your mother as much as possible.
- Cease all exposure to your mother at the first sign of illness in yourself.
It’s not going to be easy for you to acclimate to work and the fears of contracting this serious virus. Take the necessary precautions to prevent it and transmitting it to your mother.
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