How To Make A Homemade Face Mask

How To Make A Homemade Face Mask

April 9, 2020

Mary Gilliam, MBA, LNHA


During this pandemic, the CDC now recommends a face mask for the general population while out of the home.  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is hard to come by even for essential healthcare entities around the world, therefore, the usage of a cloth mask is recommended.

Want to make your own?

Monarch Senior Home Care has deconstructed an N95 mask and rebuilt it using items you can find at your local store.


Cotton Fabric                          Iron

Felt                                          Sewing Machine

Fuzzy Sticks                             Scissors

Elastic                                     Pins

Swiffer Dry Unscented Sweeping Cloths (or use preferred liner.)



Cut Fabric and Liner into rectangles: 6.5” wide by 7” long

Cut Felt into two rectangles: 6.5” wide by 4” long (2 pieces of felt per mask is used.)

Take Fabric and Liner and sew around edges.  If you use the Swiffer Cloth, make sure the fluffy part of the Swiffer is facing the fabric, flat side out.  When sewing, you’ll need to put the Swiffer Fabric down, the Fabric up and if possible use a zig zag pattern (4 wide, 2 stitches apart.)


4 cm from the bottom fold over with 1 cm in front.  Iron.

2.5 cm from the fold with a 1 cm in front.  Iron

2.5 cm from the fold with another 1 cm in front.  Iron.

You should have three pleats.  Iron the folded fabric.  Final measurements with folds are 6.5” wide by 4” long.

Take two pieces of felt and cut out  middle approximately 4.5” by 1.5” in a rectangle shape with rounded edges.

Place both pieces of felt on the back of fabric and liner.  Pin to keep in place.

Sew around perimeter of mask.

Take one fuzzy stick, half it (twist it so it is one shorter stick) and cut an inch off the end.

Place the fuzzy stick in between the two layers of felt at the top of the mask.

Sew a straight line at the top to secure the wire.

Add elastic.  For ear loops, use 1/8” elastic cut 2 pieces 7” long and sew horizontal at top and bottom of each side on mask.

For over the head, use 1/4” or 3/8” elastic, cut 2 pieces (9.5” and 10.5” long and sew vertical at the top and bottom of each side on mask.  The longer piece (10.5”) goes on the top of the mask.  The smaller piece (9.5”) goes on the bottom.

Wearing Your Mask:

Make sure mask securely covers nose and mouth, drawing bottom down around chin.  Use metal to metal wire to secure around the nose.

Machine wash after use.

For detailed pictures with the step by step instructions visit the Monarch Senior Home Care Facebook Page.


A message to our community: Follow CDC guidelines for mask usage.  Homemade masks are not recommended for effective use with COVID-19 presumed or positive persons.  They are a good alternative for non-clinicians going to grocery and essential stores.

Be Safe and Stay at Home. 


Mary Gilliam’s passion for serving seniors has become a lifelong mission.  She is the founder of Monarch Senior Home Care and responsible for leading the in-home care partners and senior advisors.

Mary holds a Master’s Degree of Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Care Administration and is a multi-state Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.  She has been in long term care operations since 2002 serving those in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. 

COVID – 19 | Infection Control

COVID – 19 | Infection Control

March 21, 2020

Mary Gilliam, MBA, LNHA


Infection Control is important during flu season but especially now during a COVID-19 pandemic.  Infection control addresses factors related to the spread of infections including prevention, investigation of origin, infection monitoring, vaccination surveillance and management of outbreaks.  There things can be done to help prevent the spread of disease.

  1. Hand Hygiene

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that hand hygiene is the most important measure for preventing the spread on pathogens is effective hand washing.  Good hand hygiene should be at minimum before, during and after preparing and eating food, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste and after touching garbage.

Follow these five steps when washing hands:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm) and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the back of your hands, between fingers and under nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20-30 seconds. Need a timer?  Hum “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.


  1. Clean & Disinfect

The World Health Organization notes that COVID – 19, as well as other viruses can stay on surfaces for several hours to several days.  Keeping areas clean and sanitized is one of the best ways to keep bacteria and viruses away.

Common areas that should be disinfected include but are not limited to tables, doorknobs, light switches, desks, faucets, sinks, computers and cell phones.


  1. Use Personal Protective Equipment When Needed

Personal Protective Equipment, also known as PPE, is an important step in protecting one-self from germ exposure.  The most common PPE is gloves.  Wearing gloves does not mitigate the need to wash hands, but provides a barrier for our hands from exposure to bacteria.  Another form of PPE is facemasks.  Currently only N95 type of masks protect from COVID-19.  Texas Health and Human Services released a statement that facemasks were encouraged when working with the senior population.  Unfortunately, Medline, McKesson and other major medical supply providers currently do not have supplies readily available for purchase leaving caregivers to provide care without these supplies.


  1. Handle Food with Care

By handling food with care, we can limit the spread of bacteria and infection.  Many people think if something looks clean, it is safe.  Bacteria and other organisms cannot be seen with the naked eye and if not disinfected can cause contamination.

Always wash your hands before preparing food and wash hands in-between handling different types of food.  For example, wash hands after touching bacon, before handling the vegetables.  After prepping and cooking a meal, ensure utensils and plate ware are washed and sanitized properly and make sure the counter tops are disinfected as not to leave any residue from raw or other foods.


  1. Surveillance

Listen to your body and monitor for signs and symptoms of infection.  If you feel like you have a sore throat that does not get better with tea, listen.  If you feel hot, take your temperature.  If your chest is tight – let your physician know.  Surveillance starts with yourself.  No one knows your body as you do – so listen.

During a pandemic, it is easy to allow anxiety to cause fear of phantom symptoms.  This happened to me just the other day:  I was helping take multiple loads upstairs when I started sweating.  Was this a fever?  Was I sick?  No, I was just out of shape.


  1. Isolation & Quarantine

There are now COVID-19 tests available, however, they are not widely available.  Unless fever or respiratory issues require hospitalization, physicians are going to tell you to isolate and quarantine yourself for fourteen (14) days.

Isolation and quarantine is not to protect you, rather to protect the community around you that is vulnerable to the disease.  If you encounter anyone that has been diagnosed, it is recommended a 14 day self-quarantine to stop the spread of disease.


  1. Stay Informed

The CDC has web-pages and constant updates to the status of COVID-19 diagnosis, spread, precautions and prevention and treatment among other items.  Only listen to trusted, authentic sources such as the CDC and Texas Health and Human Resources.  Call Monarch Senior Home Care with any questions that come up.  Social media can easily spread propaganda creating anxiety and fear.  Do your homework, stay informed, heed precautions and stay safe.



Mary Gilliam’s passion for serving seniors has become a lifelong mission.  She is the founder of Monarch Senior Home Care and Monarch Care Source.  

Mary holds a Master’s Degree of Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Care Administration and is a multi-state Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.  She has been in long term care operations since 2002 serving those in home care, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. 

Reasons to choose nonmedical home care

Parents are the only two people in the world whom you can trust, rely upon at all times – good and bad. No matter what financial, social or personal trouble you are going through, parents act like your pillars of strength, they are always by your side to care for you. They spend a major part of their life looking after you and making sure that all your needs are taken care of. However, as they get old, age starts taking its toll on them and they need to be looked after by you. Same is the case with other elderly family members.

You may think that you will be able to take care of them yourself but gradually your work and personal commitments curb your time and you are left with no time to devote in their service. You are then left to choose between two options, either send them to an old age home where many people of their age live together or take the assistance of elderly home care services as need for nonmedical home care rises in Plano as population ages

Going to an old age home is not really what any elderly family member would want. It is akin to sending your young kid to a boarding school. Though they may find many others of their age group to mingle with they will always miss being near to you. Taking the help of elderly home care services seem the better of the two choices most of the times. This way their needs, however small or big are fulfilled. They also get to live with their loved ones which is what they want more than anything else in this world.

Hiring the elderly home care services also save you the commute time from your house to the old age home. If the old care home is at a farther distance from your house then it may not always be feasible for you to go and meet them on regular intervals. Also it will make them feel like you are beginning to forget them. Love and care are the only two things the elderly expect from their children. Another thing that might bother you against sending them to an old age home facility is the kind of treatment they will receive there; there is always a nagging doubt in your mind as to whether they are being looked after well However if they stay at home, they will always be in front of your eyes and you will be able to see the care being given by the elderly home care services’ staff.

So if you care for your elders and want to give them the love and respect they deserve, elderly home care services is the best option for you.

What To Look For In A Home Care Assistant In Plano, TX

The average adult makes an approximate 35,000 remotely conscious decisions on a daily basis.  Of course, each decision carries certain consequences – whether good or bad.  For many people, at a certain point in their life, there will be a decision that needs to be made about the care of our parents or other elderly relative when they can no longer care for themselves.  Home health care services in Plano can make these hard decisions a little easier providing support, relief, quality and assurance when caring for an aging loved one.

Aging parents often do not want to be a “burden” on their children and will often hide their ailments from families as not wanting to alarm worry.  Often, it is hard to recognize issues during short visits with things that may be getting harder for a loved one including bathing, driving, climbing stairs, and even cooking.  Home care in Plano or nearby locations can provide highly trained and skilled caregivers who can help support graceful aging right at home so that a family caregiver can leave these tasks to someone else and re-focus on just being the daughter or son again.

Sometimes, when ailments are easier to spot home care assistance that is needed could be much simpler and smaller in scope. It may just be that assistance for doctor’s appointments or meal preparation is needed.  It could be having a caregiver friend take Mom out to lunch and to get her hair done when her son is unable to leave work to do so.

For others, the home health care services that they need may be much more serious. If a loved one is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s, their condition may require full time care when you or another loved one is unable to provide the constant attention that they need. During late stages of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, etc. end of life home care  would be appropriate. This is where you need not only a technically skilled home care worker, but also one with compassion, patience, and understanding.

Whether small in scope or large in need, home care assistance can be a wonderful benefit to families and clients a like.  As families make these important decisions to keep an aging relative at home, consider how home care can help guide the path to graceful aging.

Monarch Senior Home Care – Caregiver of the Year Award


Mary Gilliam






September 9, 2018

Monarch senior solutions Congratulates Azucena Arroyo as 2018 Caregiver of the Year Strong Heart Award Winner

Caring | Responsible | Providing Piece of Mind

Plano, September 9, 2018– North Texas Area Gerontological Society (NTAGS) recognized the importance of caregivers to long term care communities and the home setting alike Tuesday night.  Monarch Senior Solutions care partners, Lois Mullet and Azucena Arroyo were both recognized as finalists in outstanding care and dedication to those they serve.

From the finalists, Azucena Arroyo was elected 2018 Strong Heart Caregiver of the Year.  Azcuena has been with Monarch Senior Solutions since its inception serving clients and their families alike.

“Azucena has a huge heart that knows no bounds.  She inspires not only the clients she takes care of but others around her.  She mentors new caregivers and helps family members find silver linings in difficult disease processes.  She is an expert in care and an angel to the clients and families she serves.”   Mary Gilliam, Monarch Senior Solutions Administrator


NTAGS is a non-profit voluntary organization dedicated to educating senior advocates interested in improving lives and lifestyles as we age.  Through education, advocacy and networking NTAGS will improve the future of aging.

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If you would like more information, please contact Mary Gilliam at 469-300-2288 or email at

Azucena Arroyo – 2018 Strong Heart Caregiver of the Year

Lois Mullett & Azucena Arroyo Finalist and Winner of 2018 NTAGS Caregiver of the Year Awards.