In just the past few weeks, the coronavirus scare has risen to new heights. Of course, we should be careful during flu season every year. This year, however, the threat to health and wellbeing is elevated by a potential pandemic. Does this mean it's time to panic? No, it does not. But, there are things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Listen to Reputable Sources and Minimize Your Risk of Exposure
First and foremost, know where your information is coming from. With all the talk about coronavirus (this blog post included!), it is possible that some of the information you receive is not the best or most up-to-date. Check-in regularly with a reputable source, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC provides updated and accurate information about the spread of coronavirus and what you should be doing to protect yourself around the clock.
According to the CDC's recommendations, the best way to reduce your risk of infection is to avoid close contact with those who are sick and to wash your hands often with soap and water. If you can, consider shifting some of your meetings and personal connections online, especially if you are feeling sick or experiencing respiratory distress. Even if a true quarantine isn't necessary, avoiding crowded, public places and minimizing your exposure to others can reduce your risk of infection.
Remember, coronavirus does not affect all people in the same way. For the vast majority of those who are infected, the virus is not fatal. However, it can be very serious for people over the age of 60 and those who are prone to respiratory illness and other chronic medical conditions.
Create a Plan in Case of an Outbreak
The CDC also recommends creating a household plan of action to protect your loved ones and your community in the event that a coronavirus outbreak comes to your area. A household plan can include discussing the possibility of infection with those you love, as well as creating a plan of care for those who are at greater risk of serious complications, such as older adults and those with chronic illnesses.
Care plans should include ensuring access to necessary medications, creating a list of all medical care providers and emergency contacts, and discussing your loved ones' medical preferences. If they have them, ensure you know where your family members' advance medical directives (including healthcare proxy designations) are stored, as well as their Wills, Powers of Attorney, and other estate planning documents.
The CDC also recommends making connections with neighbors and social media groups in your area, so you can stay updated on the latest information.
Take Advantage of the Time at Home
If your office or your child's school has already asked you or your loved ones to stay home, you may be wondering what to do with all of your free time cooped up in the house. If cancellations and work-from-home orders haven't affected you yet, you may be keeping a close eye on when they may be coming. At this moment, the next few months look relatively uncertain. Already, schools are being cancelled and employees are being asked to stay home from work. After school activities are not running and trips have been postponed. That's a lot of time at home without the usual bustle of events, activities, appointments, and obligations.
Not to make light of a serious situation, but why not spend some of this time at home taking care of old projects? Maybe clean out that old junk drawer and organize your desk. Place all old paperwork in storage and organize this year's receipts, bills, and statements in a way that makes sense to you. You could even take this time to get started on your estate plan. Let's be honest, when else are you going to find yourself with this much time to get your paperwork in order and call an attorney? It's been on your To Do List forever, why not cross it off now?
At The Tyra Law Firm, we do everything we can to provide effective and efficient legal services to our clients in a way that is convenient for them. That means, we regularly schedule virtual meetings to accommodate our clients' needs, and we are willing to meet outside of business hours. In this time of extra caution and care, we have taken a close look at our operations to make sure that we are continuing to serve our clients effectively, efficiently, and — most importantly — safely. We are continuing to offer virtual meetings, flexible appointment times, and electronic document review to keep our clients and our staff safe. If you are thinking of taking advantage of your time at home to get started on an estate plan, give our office a call. We are here to work with you!