GrandPad Chief Gerontologist, Dr. Kerry Burnight, offers crisis self-care tips to caregivers

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Global pandemic puts added pressure on already strained caregiving resources; paid and unpaid caregivers reminded to practice self care and use technology for support

GrandPad supports caregivers by making it easy to stay connected with older adults when in-person visits are restricted.

Family and professional caregivers need to assess their own needs so they can continue to provide the care, love, and support that will buoy older adults through this storm.

Paid and unpaid caregivers have an important key trait in common: They put the needs of other people before their own. Even in the best of times, this means caregiver health can suffer; but for people who are serving as paid or unpaid caregivers during this global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, mental health is also being negatively impacted. Dr. Kerry Burnight, PhD, chief gerontologist for GrandPad, the first purpose-built tablet designed exclusively for people over the age of 75, offers the following recommendations to help caregivers weather the storm while continuing to provide care for patients and loved ones.

“While it’s important to focus on the physical and emotional needs of high-risk or vulnerable populations like older adults, family and professional caregivers also need to assess their own needs so they can continue to provide the care, love, and support that will buoy older adults through this storm,” said Dr. Kerry. “Start by asking yourself what your biggest struggle is and what you need most from family, friends, or the elder for whom you’re caring. Taking a moment to identify the most pressing challenge and specific ways to address that challenge is the first step to regaining control over your life and staying at the top of your game.”

Important self-care tips for paid and unpaid caregivers

  • 1.    Show compassion to yourself. The compassion that caregivers so easily share with seniors should be redirected to words of encouragement and positive self talk. Mini pep talks throughout the day, like “You’ve got this” and “My best is enough” can go a long way to sustaining a positive outlook during times of crisis.
  • 2.    Limit media consumption. When it comes to consumption of COVID-19 related news coverage, a little goes a long way, especially since much of the information is repeated. Why? Because this continued stream of negative information can be stress inducing.
  • 3.    Prioritize sleep. For caregivers to function at their optimal level, they need to recharge with regular sleep. If sleep is hard to come by in this stressful time, practicing deep breathing exercises while mentally thinking about things you're grateful for is a good way to unwind and prepare for sleep.
  • 4.    Pick three. Make a list of three favorite self-care activities and practice one each day. This might include spending time alone in your room, watching a TV show, taking a bath or long shower, spending time in prayer, calling a friend, or playing with a child or pet.
  • 5.    Move your body each day. Go for a walk, if the weather allows. If not, moving about indoors and stretching for 10 minutes a day can significantly increase your ability to cope.
  • 6.    Connect. Use phone and video calls to reconnect with friends and family members. Talking with others who are in caregiving roles can spark ideas and provide comfort through a shared perspective. Ensure that the older adults in your life also have a simple, safe, and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Technology is more important than ever for staying connected during COVID-19.
  • 7.    Follow the CDC guidelines. Carefully adhere to all safety procedures that have been issued by healthcare experts. You cannot fulfill your role as a caregiver if you contract the virus, so do your part to stop the spread of this disease
  • 8.    Ask for help. If you're feeling overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to provide the normal high-level of care for the seniors in your life or for patients as you did before the outbreak, seek help from other family members, friends, and community organizations.

“After nearly 20 years of working with caregivers, older adults, and super seniors, I’ve learned the importance of self care and leaning on other people and technology for support. By using our collective resources and staying connected we will get through this crisis together,” said Dr. Kerry.

How GrandPad can help
GrandPad is a purpose-built tablet for people 75 years and older. The device has been specifically designed around the input of seniors, for their specific needs and technology capabilities. GrandPad offers the following features that can help families stay connected in a safe and simple way with their older loved ones:

  •     Ready to use, right out of the box — no setup required.
  •     Enables pre-loaded “trusted circle” family contacts, photos, and apps
  •     Built-in LTE (no home WiFi needed)
  •     Closed network for greater security (no one outside the “trusted circle” can contact a GrandPad user)
  •     Secure internet browsing
  •     Video and voice calling
  •     Texting and emailing
  •     Family photo and video sharing
  •     Curated entertainment content (radio and TV) and brain games
  •     Streaming music
  •     Ergonomic design and enhanced speakers and camera
  •     Transportation by Lyft app
  •     24-hour personal support

To learn more about GrandPad, visit http://www.grandpad.net.

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For more information:    
Barbara Tabor, APR / (651) 230-9192 / barbara@taborpr.com

About GrandPad
Based in Orange, California USA GrandPad is a privately held company on a mission to improve the lives of millions of seniors by reconnecting them with family, friends, and caregivers. The GrandPad — the first tablet specifically designed for seniors — comes ready to use out of the box and features a secure private family network and premium US-based customer service. There are no confusing buttons, no passwords or pop-up ads, and wireless connectivity and security are built into the device — eliminating the risks of scams and hacks. Users can play games, listen to music, and enjoy many other exclusive apps on the GrandPad. Additionally, caregivers/family members can video chat, receive voice emails, and share photos with the older person through GrandPad's companion app on i0S and Android. Visit GrandPad.net. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @grandpad_social.

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Barbara Tabor
Tabor PR
651-230-9192
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