DEAR HARRIETTE: I am living with someone who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms. While we are taking the necessary precautions -- giving her food in her room, having her wear a mask in shared spaces and talking to her from 6 feet away with a mask -- how do we ensure we keep her mentally healthy during this time period in which she has to be physically distant from us and spend a lot of time inside her room? We all feel concerned for her as she already struggles with depression, and we can tell she feels guilty for potentially exposing us to the virus. What can we do, while remaining safe, to make her feel better? -- Exposed
DEAR EXPOSED: First things first: You should all be vigilant about keeping your distance, wearing masks and keeping your home clean -- which you are already doing. Don’t give up on your protocols, even for a minute. If you can give her food on paper plates that you then toss out, all the better, so that you don’t have to handle her dishes or utensils.
For her mental health, talk to her on the phone or through video calling so that you can hear and see her even though she is quarantined in her room. Remind her of how much you care for her and that you hope she stays feeling OK. Be upbeat. You should also reach out to her family to ask them to communicate with her as well. If her behavior begins to make you worried, contact her family and her doctor, if you know how to reach him or her, to sound an alarm.