Our children attend college across the country. Some parents will relate, the distance will be inconvenient, because in case of any emergency, there are immediate logisitcs that come to mind: the distance, their age, the potential severity of the issue/illness. It could get complicated. It’s frightening to not be there for them. But there we were, in exactly that position.
8 Ways to Help College-Age Kids Through COVID-19 From Across The Country
We felt helpless when faced with our kids having the coronavirus. We just stared at each other, frozen. Our options were limited, and it was obvious any help would be from 1900 miles away. There are to-do lists all over the internet, but not for this. Not exactly. We were afraid, emotional, it was a lot to process.
My husband and I were at a loss, UNTIL we weren’t. The Instincts kick in, (I hear you, parents, nodding…) and knew we would do everything we can from here, anticipate, make sure their needs are met, and we are not blindsided by any potential outcome.
How We Helped Our Kids Sick With COVID-19, From Across the Country
Below are the 8 things we did to help
Easy. Quick. Without touching. Dave had already researched thermometers prior to re-opening the dental office. We immediately sent the kids one through amazon. Tyler and Julia quarantined in the same condo and will share.
This tests your blood oxygen saturation levels. It clips over your finger, quick, barely know its there. A general rule of thumb is that if your pulse ox drops below 90, call your Doctor or seek treatment.
Grocery And Other Deliverables.
They need to be able to quarantine, and have needs met. Food and meds. They are away from family, their close friends are sick, and they will inevitably have needs. Both are on our Grocery, Amazon, Uber Eats, Door Dash accounts, and even Etsy, so they can purchase masks. We encouraged buying nutritious comfort foods, easy to prepare, or already prepared, have a variety of fluids to hydrate and balance electrolytes. Over the counter meds are an order away. Their needs are simple, and best met if they can execute efficiently.
What do your kids reach for when they are sick?
Communication in every form, day, and night.
We facetime, talk, text. Send funny pics. We send videos of their dog Morgan and cat Sybil. Texting in different languages and attempting to follow the conversation and learn a little along the way. Always checking in with each other, running down symptoms and data several times/day. Keep your ringer on at night! They may call anytime. And they will. Be available. Settle in. They may have a lot of pain, symptoms, emotions and fears to work through, or simply need connection. The days feel long and lonely.
HIPPA and POA Legalities.
These are forms that will allow you to discuss with the Drs or treatment facility your child’s medical information, and advocate for your child’s health when they are unable to.
HIPAA exists to protect our privacy. At 18 you are considered an adult, and parents are no longer legally privy to any information. At times like these, consider filling out with your child the HIPAA Authorization form so the hospital can legally keep the parent informed, and the health care power of attorney will allow the parent to make medical decisions for their child if they are unable to.
Help Them Navigate Testing
We knew the local hospital, urgent care facilities nearby, etc because our kids have been at ASU for their entire undergraduate learning. When you have to jump through hoops to get a test while terribly ill with Covid, it’s easy to burn out, with brutal exhaustion. Consider helping, finding the location, or best approach for the area. Both of our kids are under our health insurance, making how to pay for it much easier. But what if affordability is an issue? Call the Public Health Department. Research the area to find testing, and which sites may be free. COVID-19’s rising numbers will complicate navigating any system, and can make access to testing a challenge.
Call the local health department to ask how people without health insurance can get a test.
Self Care Reminders.
Reminders. Reminders doing the basics. Drink fluids. Take your temp. Pulse ox. Have you eaten? Can you eat? Do you have a plan for if you can’t? Does anything sound good to you? Shower. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Have the 911 discussion: poor pulse ox (anything less than 90), blue lips/complexion, trouble breathing, high fever… go to the ER, or call 911, immediately.
HOPE, Light, and JOY.
Talk about things we have to look forward to. Have fun, find your silly, make plans, get excited about something. It reminds all of us this is temporary, and it is helpful and healing to hear, and feel right now. It’s HOPE. Quarantine, isolation, and COVID-19 issues and fears are not forever, but for many the impact feels like it will be.
Their future is bright, let’s remind them of that.
Both Tyler and Julia are on the mend. It’s a slow heal.
When our adult kids feel this badly, alone and across the country, you go right ahead and get involved. INVOLVED. Help them with what they need the best way you can.
They are navigating more than a cold.
They are afraid, and as parents, so are we.