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Stay Calm, Communicate, and Focus on Solutions

By on March 8th, 2020

By Dr. Jamie Huysman, LCSW, CFT

We don’t like the unknown. The truth is, we deal with the unknown in life situations every day.

Stuff happens and most of us don’t sweat the small stuff. However, circumstances beyond our control can bring on a heightened state of anxiety to the already full plate of duties in the life of a family caregiver. The current Coronavirus outbreaks in the US and around the world are bringing to light the need for cool heads and common sense. A feeling of powerlessness is one that is well-known to professional and family caregivers alike. However, being cast in a pandemic is a role that is new to most of us.

Yes, this one is likely to tip the scales. Another reason why the practice of self-care and taking your oxygen first is the best first line of defense in being prepared to care.

I’m reminded of a quote by a man called Dr. Paul who said that “When I focus on the problem, the problem increases; when I focus on the solution, the solution increases.” And that’s exactly what we need to do – focus on the solution and take appropriate action.

1) Get and Stay Informed—Information is power and there is new info being released every day.

2) Take Suggested Precautions—Wash your hands! Keep those with a compromised immune system or severe lung issues separated from those who engage regularly with the general population e.g. kids, service workers, etc.

3) Steer clear of large gatherings and sick people—rearrange your schedule accordingly

4) Have things for your kids to do—Certain social activities may be curtailed or canceled. You might be grateful for electronic devices and video games!

5) Don’t panic; call your doctor.

Remember that your emotional response to the danger that COVID-19 poses will set the tone in your family’s ability to navigate this unsettling time. Talk to your kids and loved ones about your concerns and find out what theirs are. You got this!

Dr. Jamie is a popular keynote speaker, media expert, and author. He co-authored the acclaimed “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health & Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.” Dr. Huysman writes for Caregiver SOS, Connections,,, and blogs on

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