If you have osteoporosis, you may need assistance with physical tasks to avoid the risk of falling or breaking a bone. Or you may need emotional support to deal with feelings like anxiety or depression that can come with the condition. Another good reason to connect with someone? Whether it’s from friends and family or health care workers, receiving support from others lowers your stress levels.
But during the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing is top of mind, how can you keep getting the regular support you need? While life might look a little different these days, there’s still a lot you can do to stay healthy.
Look for Substitutes for In-Person Support
If you have trouble getting around or are concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus when you leave your home, opt for alternatives to in-person services whenever you can. A few things to try:
Delivery services. For example, you may be able to have your groceries and other needs, such as prescriptions, delivered directly to your home. Many delivery services charge a small fee to shop and deliver items to you. In most cases, they’ll leave your purchases on your porch or in your apartment entrance, so you don’t have to have direct contact with another person.
Connect with your health care team via telehealth. You may not think of them this way, but your health care team is a crucial part of your support network. It’s important to stay in contact with them during the pandemic. Your doctor or other specialists, such as a dietitian, social worker, or psychologist, may be able to see you via a video call on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Reach out to your health care team any time a new health issue comes up, you’re having trouble managing your osteoporosis, or you feel really stressed, anxious, or depressed.
Phone or video calls to visit with friends and family. Even if your loved ones don’t have advice for you about your osteoporosis, keeping in touch with them can boost your mood and help take your mind off any pain or health issues you’re having. It’s worth setting a regular time to check in and talk about anything that makes you feel good.
Online support groups. Chatting with other people with osteoporosis can help ease stress by reminding you that you’re not alone. It can give you new ideas for dealing with your condition, too. One option: The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers a free online support community for people with osteoporosis.
But Don’t Stop Getting At-Home Help
Cutting off all in-person support isn’t a good move. It may make you feel isolated, which can make you more prone to depression and anxiety and dim your desire to care for your health. It may also mean you don’t get the help you need, which can make you more likely to fall and get fractures.
Fortunately, if you rely on health aides, cleaning services, physical therapy, or other at-home help that you can’t get virtually, there’s plenty you can do to make sure you stay safe during the pandemic.
- Don’t let anyone who’s ill or who’s been in contact with someone with COVID-19 over the past 2 weeks come into your house.
- Make sure everyone who comes into your home wears a mask. This keeps the COVID-19 virus, and other viruses, from spreading from person to person.
- When possible, ask others in your home to stay at least 6 feet away from you.
- If someone like a nurse or home health aide needs to touch you, make sure they wash their hands first.
- Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water before you touch your face or prepare food, and after you’ve used the bathroom or touched another person.
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces that other people who’ve been in your home touch. This includes tables, doorknobs, handles, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
You can also use these habits to lower the odds that you’ll get COVID-19 if you need to leave your house to do things like exercise or visit your doctor.