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My mom is in hospice care at home. My father is very frail and has impaired vision, and at this point they really need someone there at night. I live over an hour away and my sisters live 2 and 15 minutes away. They want to take turns staying, and share other one guest room. Neither of them self isolate. One goes in to work, one cares for grade school age grandchildren.


I offered to come stay every night, and let them have the days to visit. But they both want to stay, because each wants to be there when mom dies. But I can’t accept the risk of sleeping in the same bed as someone from a different household. They both think I’m overreacting and the virus is no big deal. They are not good with mask wearing.


How are people dealing with shared caregiving during the pandemic? Is there a way to do this safely?

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Are you the primary care giver? Do you live close by? Do the sisters do much of the care giving?
You probably cannot control what your sisters do. Make masks and hand sanitizer available for them and hope they use them for your dad's sake. May not make much difference for your mom at this point.

You say that supporting your dad is your main concern. He may not be able to answer the exact questions you ask. "Would you rather..." is a hard question to answer when you can't even imagine the different possibilities. And who can? Nobody knows until the situation presents itself.

If dad is your main concern, maybe you just need to ask him to call you if he thinks your mom is failing. If she is on hospice, the hospice nurse should be there or on call. Make sure the hospice nurse is instructed to call you. Tell her you are especially concerned about your dad and want to be able to provide emotional support for him.

This is a difficult time for anyone to face. You cannot know, (nobody does) exactly what to do at any given time. Just know that both your parents will be comforted by your presence at their time of need and don't spend a lot of time worrying about the sisters.
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Reply to Dosmo13
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Take care of yourself. Take advantage of all the help you can get. Talk to Hospice Nurse about your concerns. Talk to the chaplain about your fears of not being with her when she "leaves you". If she is imanent you may not hear her shallow breathing. Get a baby monitor you or your help can hear from the other room, Or if you are all "safe" from the covid....ignore dangers and enjoy her presence. You and your help can keep away from potential caryers you have during the day. You will not regret "being together" and you will all have that good memory for the time and future.
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Reply to DKelso34
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I am sorry your sisters are not living in the reality of what an ACTUAL WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC WITHOUT A CURE is, but at least they are willing to spend the night with your parents and let them. Only YOU can protect yourself despite their ignorance. COVID-19 is not a hoax nor is the news exaggerating how dire the position the world is in. My sister is an ER nurse and she has lost 8 colleagues to COVID-19: 4 ER nurses, 3 ER doctors and a respiratory therapist. My other sister and my brother lost their mother-in-laws to COVID-19. My cousin died, my high school best friend died, and my mother’s next door neighbor died from COVID-19. My brother’s best friend’s father didn’t believe COVID-19 could be worse than the flu, so the father wouldn’t wear a mask when he left the house. Not only did the father get COVID-19 and have to be hospitalized, but he INFECTED his wife who was hospitalized with it, and he INFECTED my brother’s best friend, the other daughter, both of their husbands, and their four young children (his grandchildren) with COVID-19. Because of the quarantine, The mother died alone in the ICU from COVID-19 three weeks after being admitted. The father is wreaked with devastating guilt.
All these examples of COVID-19 deaths take place all over the country: Texas, Missouri, Florida, Virginia and California. And these are people I know and love.
When your enter your parents’ home, you have to know you cannot count on your sisters to be safe. They are not. YOU wear a mask, gloves and protective eye wear. COVID-19 is airborne, can travel up to 28 ft and the tiniest of droplets can remain airborne for 12 hours and live on surfaces—all surfaces for at least 24 hours. Visit your parents, but do not spend the night. You all live in different households so you should not physically touch. If you do, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. Before you leave your parents’ home, wash your hands, change into clean clothing before you get into your car, throwing your “dirty” clothing in a garbage bag that you have closed with a knot and thrown in your trunk to bring home to wash. In your car, wipe your hands clean with an alcohol wipe or sanitizer before removing your mask and safety eyewear. Wipe your face with a new alcohol wipe. Jump in the shower when you get home.
Until we get a vaccine and enough of us get the vaccine to get herd immunity (70%), it is up to us individually to protect ourselves, to stay alive despite the ignorance of others.
God bless you and your family.
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Reply to Rollin5
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Perhaps , hospice can help explain your mother’s care needs and the discuss general safety measures around mom and dad .
can you purchase a blow up mattress if you really want to spend time there or agree on you staying for an extended time , one or two days vs just overnight ?
good luck
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Reply to Studebaker
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I don't wish to add to the stress here, but was wondering if there a future plan for the frail Father?
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Reply to Beatty
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HOspice,,, if she is at end of life, should have someone 24/7..
my ma graduated 3 times before she was sent to Heaven.
Yes, I agree, take your own sheets, and clorax wipes, and pray. Everyone wants to be with parents.. That is very nice and supportive.
So this should be everyone's view... be careful.. Mom is on Hospice, and dad is frail. Keep everyone as safe as can be. I can imagine your siblings are aware of this... MOM IS ON HOSPICE AND DAD IS FRAIL... I feel your siblings should know this and are taking as much care and concern about covid knowing your parents are frail.....
If not, remind them.. as this forum has said... Set up a stand in front by the front door, with handiwipes, gloves, masks, and all the other safe essentials. Bring in your own bedsheets, etc, and let it be known, they need to do this too. HOSPITAL SETTING...
think I had to call my sibling around 5 times on a Friday to convince him to come in the weekend our mother passed. I only did that because my spouse kept saying when is your brother coming?.. Did you call him? Yes, 5 times in one day...
BE thankful you have support ... maybe too much, but at least you have support..
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Imho, be extremely cautious regarding the Novel Coronavirus. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I really don’t think you’re over reacting.....we each handle this pandemic in a way that makes us feel comfortable.

In my state, everyone is supposed to just stay with people from their own household other than work.

Do what makes you feel comfortable with the least amount of anxiety.
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Reply to Jada824
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There are some pretty simple answers to this.

There are reasonable pre cautions you can take
Get your siblings to agree
1) Bring your own bed sheets. Put them on and take them with you when you leave. This is what a 2-3 activity (If you only do this I think you will be fine.
2) Use lysol when you come to the house and do a once over spray in the home
3) as both parents are ill just treat the house like a hospital. Everyone has to wear masks and gloves when they are in the house. Buy a fresh box of masks and gloves and put them right at the door.
4) If feasable when you arrive open some doors and windows to ventilate out old air. Even use a couple of fans to do it faster.
5) keep a bottle of spray cleaner and wipe down the most used counters
7) keep hand sanitizer in multiple locations in the house.
8)Check with a nursing home. What do they do at shift change? And what precaustions do their staff take when not in the facility.
This would probably be a 10 minute activity when you arrive. It would put you in a situation to be there only a couple of times a week instead of every night.

Your parents are only going to die once to some people it is big deal they be there. So perhaps this will help. I cannot make any gurantees or promises ANY of this will prevent COVID from getting in the house. The ONLY way to do that is to 100% isolate the home with -0- people changes. If doing "EVERYTHING POSSIBLE" to help your parents extend their life is a real thing to you and your siblings then this is the ONLY way to do it. and one of you will have to take that on.
Bottom line you and the siblings have to come to an agreement as to what is the priority.
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Reply to lacyisland
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Take your own pillow and sleeping bag. Every morning, each such successive occupant wipes down hard surfaces and opens the window to ventilate the room.

Basically, if any of you visitors has Covid you're all in big trouble anyway. Don't forget about protecting your father in all of this.

Sorry, though, just looking at your post - if they're 2 and 15 minutes away, surely you could call them if they needed to be there?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I agree with Sendhelp "Let the sisters do the hands on caregiving, their way".

Be the emotional support over the phone instead.

When you do visit - minimise any Covid risks you can.
*Breathe other peoples' air less (by using mask if possible & keeping space).
*Wash hands thoroughly just before leaving. Hand sanitizer before re-entering your safe zones.
*If any coughing or unwell people present, remove any clothing that may have cough droplets before re-entering your safe zones.

(I avoided visiting my sister though our crises as she had symptoms at one time but didn't bother to disclose & was not taking the precautions I was).

I made my car my '1st safe zone'. I have a jacket that lives in the 'dirty' box in my car boot/trunk). I wash hands & face when home. Wear my 'home only' clothes.

Sounds like you are prepared & accept your parents' state of health but I wish you strength for the coming weeks & months. Very hard situation made even harder by this awful pandemic.
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Reply to Beatty
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Let the sisters do the hands on caregiving, their way. People do well in groups of two, relationship-wise. As #3, you will have a rough care giving journey.
(they are already ridiculing you to do it their way). imo.

It is not easy to bow out. But you can be a listening ear on the phone when they need to vent or share advice. That in itself can be a thankless job, for which you might receive much criticism if sisters are at all mean. Go once a week, in the daytime. imo.

Don't inform them, just do not be a part of their plan. There may come a time you will be needed to do it on your own, when they burn out. This is not like a sleepover college party or sharing a room. It could be hard work. Preserve your energy and health for the long term care giving.

I am not saying this will happen to you, but keep in mind, there is a difference between being a caregiver ordered around by your sibling, to do things to make their job easier,/ vs /the one-on-one caregiving you could be doing for your mother or father, meeting their needs directly. If you can do it the one-on -one way, you will have had a relationship with Mom, with Dad and feel fulfilled at the end of their lives.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Jada824 Nov 25, 2020
Need,
Being the caregiver ordered around by the other sibling to make their life easier is a thankless job!

Been there, done that! I so regret it now with the way things have turned out.
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Have them strip the bed and put the linens in the washer when they are leaving. You do the wash when you arrive so you can ensure that they have been bleached and washed. You replace them on the bed. That's the only way you'll know for sure that you are sleeping on clean sheets. You can spray lysol over the whole bed while it's unmade.

Upon your arrival, wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant. Again, so you know it was done. Door knobs, bathroom, etc. everything.

Reiterate that they are going to work, around people they don't know if they mask or not outside of work, and kids (if going to school) are being exposed to flu in addition to covid. Since they are so close, they could drop by periodically throughout the day, wear a mask to protect both mom and dad (and you), and then leave. Your mom's on hospice and dad is frail - tell them you know they would feel horrible and either of the parents getting sick. And you would really be upset since you have offered a way to possibly mitigate catching something. Not to mention, you could call them to come right a way if needed.
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Reply to my2cents
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Beatty Nov 25, 2020
I get you, but people not taking strict care just won't strip the beds etc. They'll brush it off "Oh you worry too much". Even if the OP disinfects every single time (all that extra work), if the sisters get it, they will pass it instantly to the parents, who will then pass it directly to the OP. The OP needs PPE to stay safe really.
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If your siblings are not good with mask wearing, are they not wearing a mask consistently in your parents' home? If so, then they can be introducing COVID-19 any time they visit. Do they wash their hands and surfaces frequently when they visit your parents? If not, then most surfaces can be considered a risk for contamination.

Your choices are based on a creditable risk of COVID-19 exposure:

1 - Do what you can to protect yourself and your parents while you visit: sanitizing surfaces, wearing a mask, frequent hand-washing and DO NOT STAY OVERNIGHT. Make sure to bathe, wash hair, and wash clothing promptly after you visit. This will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.

2. This one is much riskier. DO everything as in #1 AND thoroughly clean any room you will stay in overnight (bring your own sheets, plastic mattress cover, pillows, blankets and toiletries), make sure everybody bathes and washed hair every day, wear a mask to protect yourself whenever possible.


2 - do not put yourself at any
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Reply to Taarna
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Kentuckienne Nov 24, 2020
None of them wear masks in my parents’ house unless a medical professional is present.

I appreciate all the feedback. Gives me a reality check. I won’t accept any more guilt trips. I did offer to come stay every night even though it’s two hours a day driving. Isn’t that fair? This is what I’m willing to do and these are the circumstances under which I will do it. It’s not like staying there is a prize. It’s gross and dirty and stinky and I only do it because I know it helps my dad. It hurts my feelings to be scorned for not coloring inside the family lines, but this isn’t about me. It’s about doing what I can for them in the short time left.
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That is sad that they won’t change the sheets.

Just keep sanitizing when you arrive to stay in your mom’s home.

I am a germ freak plus I have allergies, so I clean regularly.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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They don't want to bother changing sheets. None of them wear masks in the house, unless there is a doctor or healthcare aide present. And if they're not going to mask up around their elderly parents, when will they? One of them won't wear a mask at work because her office is off to the side. One won't wear a mask because "she can't breathe". They don't run the air filter I put in the bedroom because it "makes noise" and won't wipe down surfaces after themselves, only after healthcare aides or outside visitors. They all feel that the virus is overblown - it's not necessarily a hoax, but it's no worse than the flu.

All I could do is cover the bed with my own quilt, use my own sleep sack and pillow on top of that, spray everything in the room when I first get to the house, and turn on the air filter. You're right, the worst risk is sitting in the room\cleaning bathroom\emptying pee\etc with my parents, given that I'm the only one who wears a mask.

I think part of this is my own frustration. My siblings are risk-averse: none of them will fly in a plane, they are afraid of going over bridges, they won't drive long distances, none of them went to college or got any kind of skilled job training. Some think the flu shot causes cancer. There's an element of Q-Anon stuff going on. So they see the virus as a political thing, not a health issue, and say it's hilarious that I'm afraid of it. Rather than make any accommodation at all - like agree to wear masks at my parent's house - they are digging in. So arguing just makes it worse, and I am frustrated.

I don't try to control what anyone else does, but I do think about what risks I am willing to assume and what risks I will decline. That approach has kept me safe all over the world so far. I don't have many options now. If I want to see them, I do it on my siblings' terms. Which I will do, and be as careful as I can. But my frustration with being put in that position makes me balk at sleeping overnight in a shared bed. I know feelings are not facts. I'm trying to separate out what's genuine risk and what's my emotional response to the rest of the situation and it's hard to do that. I think that's what's behind my question: how much of my apprehension is valid, and how much of it is fear with no basis?
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Reply to Kentuckienne
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pamzimmrrt Nov 24, 2020
Have you mentioned to your family that will share the bed about your "itchy flaky skin rash", and how you "wish you could stop shedding those flakes everywhere when you sleep".. LOL That may do the trick!
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As long as you take precautions (wear a mask), wash your hands, you will be okay. I think the media is making this virus much worse then it really is (I know people will get upset with me for saying that but that's what I believe after doing extensive research).

Your Mom is dying. Go to her and of course your sisters should be there too.

That said, I'm truly sorry you are going through this. I wish the best for you and your family.

Hugs,
Jenna
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Kentuckienne Nov 24, 2020
Thanks.
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You're overreacting.

If you aren't freaking out about them coming to visit, I don't know why you'd freak out over a bed. If the sheets are washed in hot water between users, there's nearly a zero chance of you catching it from them. That's assuming your sisters actually have the virus, in which case your parents are about 100% more likely to get it before you'd get it from the bed.
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Reply to MJ1929
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pamzimmrrt Nov 23, 2020
I had the same thought,, just change the bed between users!
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You aren’t going to get COVID from bedsharing. It’s an airborne virus. If they are there during the day and you there are night, the risk is the same. If it can live in the air then it doesn’t really matter where you sleep.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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You can change the sheets.
You can spray with a sanitizer
You could also pack one of the Air Beds and use that as YOUR bed either keep it in the trunk of your car or the closet in the guest room.
By the way not all deaths occur at night. She could just as easily die at 10 am while you have The Price is Right on. (Most likely none of you will be in the room when she dies, many people will wait until a person sitting vigil goes to get some water, goes to the bathroom or gets a bite to eat)
There are definite signs when someone is "Actively Dying" and Hospice can let you know what those signs are so you can be more prepared. (although that still will not give you a time of day or even how many days there are before she dies)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Kentuckienne Nov 24, 2020
My folks are hoarders, and not only is there no space in a closet for an air bed, you can't get to the closet. Or the foot of the bed. Or the other side of the bed.

You know, she will go when she goes. She's not having a good time. Maybe it sounds harsh. But I don't think my being there would make things easier for her. All she wants is to see my dad and have him there. And he never leaves her side except for the call of nature. What matters to me is to be able to support my dad, and I don't know what is best. Would he rather be alone with her, one last time? Would he want to have someone else there? He can't answer these questions either.
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