The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has brought the world to its knees. The novel coronavirus sweeping through the world has made people stay cooped up in their homes and pray for their lives. The Covid-19 coronavirus has no age bar, it spares none, but health organisations like W.H.O., and CDC have made it clear that the elderly are most at risk. If you have a senior citizen in your home, a parent or a grandparent, you’re likely to be worried about their safety.
We get your concern, we do, and that’s why we are here to help. Find out how you can protect the elders in your family from the novel coronavirus and keep them safe.
Who Is Most at the Risk?
Older adults who are 65 years of age or above are most at the risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The elderly with any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, and heart disease are also at a higher risk of developing severe complications if infected with the novel coronavirus. While we have no control to lower the risk for the elderly, we certainly can take preventive measures to keep them safe. Here’s how!
1. Follow basic hygiene practices when taking care of an elderly and even otherwise.
If you have been actively following the news on the coronavirus crisis, then you know what you have to do. The litany of advice on washing hands or using a hand sanitizer, which you must be familiar with by now, is for a reason. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and the senior citizens in your family is by maintaining hygiene. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, more so if you’re taking care of an elder in your house. Wash your hands before you make or serve them meals, before you touch them or help them rest on the bed. Urge them to follow the same practice, to stay safe.
2. Get your facts right and explain them to elders.
A lot of misinformation related to the coronavirus is being circulated on Whatsapp and other social media, which is one of the reasons a majority of people are still not understanding the gravity of this pandemic. For relevant information, visit the W.H.O site and inform your elders and everyone in your family to be careful and take precautionary measures.
3. Practice social distancing.
If an elderly person in your family is generally very social, we understand (genuinely, we do) that it will be a pain for you to stop them from going out for their regular meet-up sessions. Still, you will have to try your best to stop them from going outdoors – there’s no way around it. The importance of social distancing, especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, cannot be stressed enough. Social distancing is an effort taken by citizens all over the world to slow down the spread of the virus. Staying indoors can not only prevent one from catching this fatal infection, but it can also help reduce the number of overall infected people, leaving space in hospitals to treat serious cases and reducing the numbers of deaths too!
4. Avoid physical interaction with the elderly.
While getting hugs from their children and grandchildren does make the elderly feel special, it’s best that you save these hugs until the COVID-19 coronavirus recedes. Avoid shaking hands or embracing your elders unnecessarily. Maintain a safe distance from them to keep them safe, especially if you are still going out for work daily or to run errands. Of course, you can still make them feel loved in other ways, a kind word and a sweet gesture should work just as well!
5. Make sure they eat healthy.
One of the reasons why the elders are most at the risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus is their low immunity. While in the ripe years, one cannot have an immune system like a 20-something youngster, but one can eat healthy and try to keep their immunity levels in check. So ensure that the elderly in your family eat only healthy foods, and while you’re at it, you eat healthy too! Why not take this time to keep your body healthy from the inside?!
6. Wash their clothes separately and make sure they wear washed clothes whenever they change.
Wash the clothes of your elders separately, use a disinfectant if possible. Give them separate bath towels and hand towels. Sanitise their rooms and the objects that are frequently used by them.
7. Disinfect your house.
Disinfect the frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home. Clean and disinfect the surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, just to be extra precautious.
8. Don’t take care of the elderly if you are sick.
Whether it’s a mild cough or fever, if you are sick, avoid taking care of your elders. Isolate yourself and get yourself checked, especially in these times when the mild flu-like symptoms could indicate to something serious like the COVID-19 coronavirus. Don’t take chances, avoid visiting your elders and protect them to your best ability.
9. Cancel all the non-essential doctor appointments your elders may have.
Any medical visits should be on hold if possible. If needed, try and get a doctor to visit the house instead of having the senior citizen go out.
These are a few measures that you can take to keep your loved ones safe. It might be tough to get them to stay put and you may find yourself dealing with a stubborn oldie, but sometimes tough love is the only way out.
Above all, talk to them gently and explain patiently, what the implications of continuing with their regular routines are. Answer any questions they might have and relentlessly guide them into making the right decisions during this time. If all fails, pull out the emotional card, tell them that you’re scared you’ll lose them, and you’ll most likely find that they will at least consider your plea.