Q:  I live alone, and am worried about getting sick. Do you have any suggestions on how I can take care of myself if I do get sick?

A:  Illness can be a very scary time. Especially now, with so many viruses going around and worrisome information on the news about the severity of illnesses this winter. Being prepared about how you will handle this is a great idea. It can help ease your mind now and it make easier if you do become sick this winter.

You can start by making sure your home is stocked with items you may need. This includes over-the-counter medications you may need, as well as easy to prepare soups, crackers, juices, and even frozen sherbet or something like it to help ease a sore throat.

It is always a good idea to keep your important medical information handy. Have a list of current medications, allergies, emergency contacts and health insurance information easily available. That way, if you need a doctor or urgent care visit you can just grab the information and take it with you. If the paramedics are ever needed it should be visible and accessible to them as well.

If you have any pets that need walking think through who you can ask to come and care for them if you become ill. Check with someone ahead of time and perhaps find a friend with a pet who you can offer to do the same for them, if needed.

There are so many ways to order food and supplies to be delivered now that it can make being sick at home alone a lot easier. Instacart is a website and app where you can order from a variety of stores to be delivered to your door within hours. Amazon offers next day shipping for many items, including medications. And restaurant delivery services including Grub Hub and Door Dash allow your favorite restaurant meals to be delivered to you through a third party.

Of course, all of these delivery services come with additional fees. If you are using them, try and think ahead and order two meals at a time or extra items so that you get the most out of your delivery fee.

At the beginning of your illness, you may want to call your doctor’s office and ask them for suggestions on how to treat your symptoms and what warning signs to look out for. They will also let you know if it is necessary to be seen or if they can provide a Telehealth appointment over video to better assess your illness.

If medications are prescribed, you may need to ask a friend or family member to pick them up for you. If you need to go yourself, wear a mask to help protect those around you.

It is important to create a community of people to support you. Reach out and find a friend so you can be there for each other. Sometimes even just asking someone to call you daily during an illness can help you feel more secure and comforted. Create your own community of support to help each other through difficult times.

Martha Shapiro can be reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at mshapiro@seniorconcerns.org.



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