Nine recommendations if your family member is in hospital isolation.

Some help and advice for you if someone you know is in hospital during this period, inspired by the Matia Fundazioa in the Basque Country, and developed with the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University.

  • Remember that this separation is not your fault.

    Although as a carer you want to do everything you can for your family member and it is difficult to accept what you cannot, it is important to accept the limitations of the situation. Remind yourself that it is external circumstances, not your fault, that prevent you from being by their side now.

    Support and information for carers from Carers UK

    Facing COVID - a useful discussion by Dr Russ Harris

  • Practice being calm.

    Letting ourselves be carried away by an excess of negative emotions creates added suffering, prevents us from thinking clearly. It's normal to feel negative emotions, and if you can, try to accept them. Then, try doing something to relax. If you already have some way of doing this then use your breathing, yoga or meditation techniques such as mindfulness to help you stay calm: now is the time to practise them and do them regularly. Remember that simply pausing for three deep breaths when you remember, and slowly exhaling on the out breath, can help.

    Some help from Mind

    Welsh language meditation and relaxation material

    Material by Smiling Mind to help you cope in times of Covid

    Advice on how to meditate and cope with stress from Insight Timer

  • Trust that they're in good hands.

    Realize that, even though you are not there, your family member has people around them, professionals who are doing their utmost to provide the care they need.

  • Trust that they're able to adapt to the situation.

    Human beings have a great capacity to adapt to adverse situations. When a family member is sick, we often think about their vulnerability; but let's not forget that they also have resources and can develop even more inner strength in this new situation.

  • Reflect on how you would like to handle this difficult situation.

    You too are in the process of adapting. Ask yourself how you would like to handle this situation and make it your personal goal to achieve things one step at a time.

  • Communicate with them.

    If you can phone or text or use any other means such as WhatsApp, use them. If you can't reach them now, why not record a video or voice message and give them these at a later date.

  • Instead of worrying, connect with positive feelings about them.

    It's normal to worry in this situation, but try to accept these thoughts when they appear. To keep them from overwhelming you, connect with positive memories and the feelings of affection and gratitude you have for your family member. If you have religious beliefs, or spiritual beliefs in general, you can pray for him or her or use visualization.

  • Make sure you rest and replenish your strength.

    The role of carer leads to fatigue and sometimes even exhaustion. However, we take much better care when we have energy and are rested. If you can, take this opportunity to get your strength back now by resting and caring for yourself.

  • Learn to accept what you can't control.

    In general, we like to control as much as we can, but there are circumstances in life that are beyond our control and are simply as they are. Potentially, the more we accept life as it is, the less we suffer.

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