COVID-19: What can I do to help?

by General Caregiving2 comments

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people all over the world, here are some simple tips for how to help while we practice social distancing. The uncertainty and fear generated by a global infectious disease outbreak is stressful. That’s why it’s more important than ever to show compassion and Care Well for those around us, even if you can’t physically be with them. Your safety is the first concern, so if any of these tips would put you at risk, please don’t do them.

Editor’s Note: We will periodically update this page as new information becomes available. All information was accurate at the time of its publication.

Self-Care Ideas

  • Stuck inside? Here’s a list of free online exercise classes
  • Try these 5 Practices for Peace and Clarity by Kim Mulder, Certified Spiritual Director and Registered Yoga Instructor
  • Visit an online humor repository like the Laugh Factory’s Clean Joke List, or this list of Christian pun jokes
  • Contact neighbors that live near you and invite them to a Driveway Happy Hour – at an appointed hour, everyone meets at the end of their driveway with a favorite snack or beverage and “raises a glass” to friendship at a safe distance

Tips to Care for Others

  • Donate to and/or volunteer at a food pantry
  • Host a virtual book club via web cam
  • Swap jigsaw puzzles with neighbors, leaving them on the front porch (wipe the boxes down with sanitizing wipes before sharing)
  • Support local businesses by purchasing gift cards online to use after the crisis passes
  • Decorate the sidewalks of essential workers’ workplaces (firefighters, hospitals, grocery stores, etc.) with encouraging messages written in chalk such as “Thank you for your service!” and “We appreciate you”
  • Go through your house to gather materials you no longer need, but others might enjoy while staying inside such as: books, crafting or sewing materials, etc. Put out a message to your neighbors: “Free to a good home!” and place the items on your front porch or the end of the driveway
  • Send a sampler of tea (or coffee) to a friend; invite them to “have tea” with you via a phone call or web conference meeting

How to Help the Elderly

  • Organize a text/call chain to check on the elderly; enlist members of your church or small group to make calls
  • If you are able to go outside, contact an assisted living center to see if you can make brightly colored signs with encouraging words to hold up outside of their facility for residents to see
  • Learn how to use online grocery shopping services; then educate someone else on how to use the service
  • Organize games of Window Tic Tac Toe with members living in an assisted living facility
  • Coordinate a letter-writing campaign for shut-ins
  • Volunteer to call lonely people through AARP’s Friendly Voice program
  • Live in a cold climate? Delight individuals who live in nursing homes or who are quarantined in their home by encouraging your kids or grandkids to build a snowman outside their windows. The inside audience will love watching kids enthusiastically playing and will enjoy seeing the finished product.  If the kids also make angels in the snow, the inside audience may remember playing in the snow as children.

Ideas for Families with Children

  • Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt: invite neighbors to place a fun photo in their front window; take the kids on a walk to see how many different photos they can find (“Zoofari” variation: have neighbors place a cute stuffed animal in the window or if weather permits, outside in trees, bushes or ledges)
  • Do an art project, or build something with blocks; hop on a video chat with friends or family to share your creation
  • Teach a child a new skill like sewing, needlepoint, cooking. Don’t know how? Look it up on YouTube and learn it together!
  • For more ideas, check out Parade Magazine’s 125 ideas to keep kids entertained during the coronavirus outbreak
  • Read Why We Stay Home, a book for young children that explains the Coronavirus in age-appropriate text

 Share Via Social Media

Want to share our ideas on social media? Click to download these tips in visual form: COVID-19 Caregiving Tip Sheet and 8 Ideas for Caring from a Safe Social Distance

Livvy Zimmerman

Livvy Zimmerman


  1. Norma Killilea

    Thank you for good ideas!

  2. Larry Mulder

    These are great ideas Karen! I’d welcome you to come into my assisted living facility and play Tic Tac Toe with me!
    Your faithful play mate,
    Larry (Mulder that is)


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