During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve heard a lot about social distancing and self-isolation. What are the differences? Both are designed to lower the chances of contracting this virus, but they do mean different things.
The Goal of Social Distancing
Social distancing is a technique that allows you to still get out of your home, but you’re staying a safe distance from others. You have a close circle of people, often the people who live in your home, that you don’t wear a mask or stay six feet away from.
When you have to go outside or to a store, social distancing involves staying at least six feet away from others. You will likely wear a mask when you’re out in public. The goal here is to keep any droplets from traveling if you sneeze, cough, or accidentally spit while talking.
If you do see someone you know while you’re outside of the home, you don’t have to avoid them. You keep a safe distance. Instead of standing together and talking, you stand on opposite sides of a road, driveway, or yard and talk to others that way.
The Goal of Self-Isolation
Self-isolation is important if there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to the virus. If your job takes you outside the home and you learn a coworker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, there’s a chance you could have contracted the virus. By isolating yourself from others, you help stop the spread.
With self-isolation, you stay at home for a full two weeks. If you don’t develop the virus in that time, you’re okay to return to work and follow social distancing practices. If you do develop the virus, you’ve been home and aren’t spreading it to others.
What if your parents need help? That’s one of the challenges family caregivers face. If they help their parents but could have the virus, they need to stay at home. That doesn’t mean their parents have to try to manage on their own.
Senior care services can fill needs while you’re staying isolated.
Caregivers can go to your parents’ house, help them with the daily tasks they cannot do on their own, and make sure they have the groceries and medications they need.
With senior care aides filling in while you’re self-isolating, your parents do not suffer. It allows you the time you need to self-quarantine and know that you’re not putting your parents at risk.