To say the least, 2020 has been a challenging year so far. Recent recommendations from health and government officials in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have completely upended most of our routines. Those of us who are lucky enough to remain healthy at this time are still experiencing complications stemming from attempts to contain the illness.
At this time, many public schools, libraries, universities, places of worship, and sporting and cultural institutions have shut down for a few weeks. These closures are a response to experts advising everyone to voluntarily practice “social distancing” — a term you may have never heard before but are suddenly seeing everywhere.
What is social distancing?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social distancing involves creating ways to increase distance in settings where people commonly come into close contact with one another.
The CDC recommends staying six to 10 feet away from other people and canceling all gatherings involving 50 people or more. Federal guidelines recommend limiting personal gatherings to a maximum of 10. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, you are urged to stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. If you are feeling ill, stay isolated at home except to get medical care.
But beyond that, we know these health guidelines impact most of our customers and employees in one way or another. Some of us have children out of school, offices we can’t get into, parents we can’t visit, and on and on. We know how much space these challenges are renting in your brain. To help out, we’re sharing some tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones while practicing safe social distancing. Because at the end of the day, life is better when it’s safe.
Securing your home
Many of us are out of our regular routines right now, and it’s common to forget things when life is in flux. We talk a lot about the importance of securing your home when you are away, but don’t forget to secure your home while you are inside it!
If you have a smart home security system, maximize the tools and technology available to ensure your home is secure after leaving. Even when someone is home, don’t forget to lock up, set the alarm system, and secure all entrances to your home.
For the no-school days
The closing of schools across the country left many of us with questions. In addition to a general concern about the welfare of our little ones, many working parents rely heavily on institutions like schools and daycare. Some may find themselves making difficult decisions, including allowing children to be home alone more than usual.
There are a number of things you can do and teach your children to help protect them while home alone. Here are a few tips:
- Create regular check-in times when children are required to text or call. Explain your plan for missed check-ins, such as calling the police or your neighbors.
- Establish firm, age-appropriate rules so there’s no confusion about what’s allowed (e.g., using the internet, inviting over friends, cooking).
- Start a family text chain to keep everyone on the same page.
- Post your cell phone number and all emergency numbers next to the phone, or program them into your child’s cell phone.
- If you have a 24-hour monitored home security system, teach them how to use it.
- Explain that if the phone rings, kids should never tell callers they are home alone. One suggestion is teaching them to say their mom/dad is busy and will call them back.
- Remind them they should not answer the door or invite anyone over without your permission.
If you’re going to be at home with the kids for a while, keep in mind that social distancing does not mean you can’t get some fresh air. Just a quick walk around the block or a game of catch in the backyard can give a restless child some relief.
Caring for the elderly
In addition to those with serious chronic medical conditions, older adults are said to be at a higher risk of getting sick. If you have elderly loved ones in your life, here is what the CDC recommends:
- Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can keep extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a backup plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food at home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
One other consideration — if it’s essential that someone visits your loved ones, consider designating just one person in your family to do so.
If they live alone and already have a smart home security system, make sure they understand how to use it and that you (or another friend/family member) are listed as an emergency contact.
If they don’t have one, a professionally monitored alarm system can help provide peace of mind. When a Guardian system is installed, it is monitored by our U.S.-based monitoring center — even during times of crisis like this. When an alarm is triggered, whether it be for burglary, fire, or medical emergency, we initiate a response in 30 seconds or less.
We also offer medical alert pendants, featuring an easy-to-use panic button that triggers an emergency signal to our monitoring center. Having a pendant within reach can help you quickly call for emergency assistance and may help save a life. They’re great not only for the elderly but anyone with mobility issues. The pendant is also included in our Protect My Parents package, designed with your folks in mind.
For Pet Parents
What if you need to go to work, but your doggie daycare is temporarily closed? Knowing you are still clocking in and out to pay for your pup’s organic dog food could be all of the motivation you need, but what is (wo)man’s best friend going to do at home all day long?
With Guardian Protection’s Pet Parent package, you’ll be able to check up on your fur baby, keep them comfortable, and ensure they still get the exercise they normally would.
Our indoor video camera will help you peek in to see your best pal napping on the furniture they normally aren’t allowed on, and motion detectors will alert you when they get up to get a gulp of water. If you worry about your pet getting too hot or too cold throughout the day, the Pet Parent package also lets you adjust the temperature on your Guardian smart thermostat from your mobile app.
Cleaning your equipment
We’re learning new information about the coronavirus every day. But beyond limiting your exposure to the illness, the CDC recommends cleanliness and handwashing as your best defense. Also, here’s a list of pre-approved cleaning products to help guide your purchasing decisions.
We often overlook all the things we touch constantly in our own homes — including our smart home technology. As you’re wiping off your doorknobs and light switches, remember to clean your Guardian Protection smart home panels, locks, thermostats, and more. Also, don’t forget to sanitize that smartphone you use to control it all.
Leveraging your home automation devices
Do you use an online food delivery service like DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub? You may have received a communication from one or all explaining that they are going to be practicing “no-contact delivery.” Instructions vary between services, but basically, they will drop your food off in a safe location to minimize in-person contact. If you’re ordering food while social distancing, you can use our video doorbell to alert you when your food has arrived!
If someone in your household is sick, the CDC recommends (if possible) choosing one room and bathroom in your home to separate sick household members from those who are healthy — social distancing within social distancing. But don’t forget to take advantage of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to make this situation a little more pleasant. In fact, both Siri and Alexa “speak” Guardian. So if you have Guardian Protection smart security, you can use them to control your system and communicate hands-free.
Practicing smart social media
We are a social species by nature. In addition to the general anxiety the coronavirus is causing, it’s completely normal to find social distancing stressful. At times, it may feel downright frustrating and lonely. It’s no surprise so many of us gravitate toward social media to stay connected to the people we love and also to vent our frustrations.
Even so, the same social media safety measures we recommend while traveling apply here: resist the urge to overshare your schedule and your location. It’s important to let close friends and family know what’s going on, but keep it on a need-to-know basis. If you’re going to be home alone, or if your kids are, don’t post this info publicly. It’s just unsafe.
Being good neighbors
While many businesses and most schools are closed, shout out to the first responders, doctors, nurses, public works employees, government workers, monitoring center protection specialists, and many, many more individuals that are still helping the world go ’round. We need them now more than ever, and we appreciate them!
In light of all the chaos and uncertainty, we wanted to wrap this up with one last suggestion: Be good to each other! We’re all one global community, and while some of us may be facing more adversity than others, we’re still in this together.
Something we’re always striving to be here at Guardian Protection is what the late, great Fred Rogers would call a good neighbor. Let’s always try to be good neighbors to each other, even if we are doing it from a distance.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”Fred Rogers