During coronavirus crisis, AARP urges caregivers to take care of themselves first

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The AARP is urging the 40 million caregivers nationwide — 3.4 million in Texas alone — to take care of themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

“If they get sick, they are not going to be of any use to family members really relying on them at this time,” said Bill Walsh the Coronavirus Response Lead for the AARP. “Think about putting on your own mask first in an airplane. Caregivers have to take care of themselves first.”

Walsh says family caregivers already have a tough job, one that would challenge a first-year nursing student.

“I’m talking about tube feeding and wound care, but also managing people’s finances and getting them to-and-from doctor’s visits,” he says.

Add on the pressure of a spreading COVID-19 and the stress can be overwhelming.

“The first thing we tell caregivers is to have a plan in case they get sick or their loved one gets sick,” says Walsh.

The AARP a national, nonprofit consumer group, offers the following advice to its 38 million members: “Do a little inventory in your house, do you have enough food? What about medicines, we recommend having a two-week supply on hand. Prescription drugs are important, have a list of what your loved one is on. The CDC recommends having a 30-day supply. We think that makes a lot of sense.”

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