8 Ways Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Getting the Coronavirus
During this time, it’s especially important to make sure the more vulnerable of our society are kept safe.
According to CNN, most of those who have lost their lives from COVID-19 in the U.S. have been older adults “in their 80s, 70s, 80s and 90s.” Older adults, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions, have a higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 (CNN), and this is because their immune systems are not as strong as those who are younger.
One of the biggest statements in the news recently has been to flatten the curve, lessening the infection rate as much as we can. With hospitals having limited beds to support the sick should the number of patients increase, it’s important to take precautionary measures to protect yourself. In this post, we share 7 safety tips that seniors can follow.
If you don’t need to go out, please don’t. This includes grocery store and family visits unless absolutely necessary. Some stores are setting up hours designated for elderly shoppers, which you may be able to take advantage of. Check your local news to find out if a store in your community is participating. If you have a loved one, friend, or caregiver who can go to the store for you, that would be better.
Non-essential doctor appointments, like check-ups and follow-ups, can wait and be rescheduled for another time. This will limit your chances of potentially being exposed to the virus. If you’re able to schedule a virtual visit with your doctor, that would be better.
If you’re sick and need immediate medical assistance, please call your primary care physician or a doctor ahead of visiting. This will give them a chance to prepare for your arrival and protect other patients and staff.
3. If you can’t avoid going out, use barriers to protect yourself.
If you don’t have a family member, friend, or caregiver who can assist you with routine needs like grocery store visits or errands, then use barriers for extra protection. When going out, use a clean tissue to touch door handles and sanitizing wipes for carts at stores. Make sure you get the items you need like food, medications, hygienic products, and other essentials you may need.
4. Try preparing meals ahead of time when possible.
One way to help with avoiding food prep on a daily basis is to prepare any meals ahead of time if you can. This will provide assurance of what you have on hand. You can also freeze certain foods and have them ready.
5. Sanitize high-traffic areas regularly and practice good personal hygiene.
For areas of your home that you or a loved one use frequently, try to keep them sanitized with wipes or disinfectant spray on a regular basis. This will help to cut down on germs. For personal hygiene, if you cough or sneeze use a clean tissue or the bend of your elbow.
It can be hard avoiding a hug or handshake from a family member or friend, but practicing social distancing while you’re out and at home is important. Instead of reaching for their hand, one alternative is bumping shoes or a kind wave. You can still let them know that you care but want to try to keep them and yourself safe.
Make sure you still flex those muscles when you can, even for just brief periods of the day. You can walk around inside your home, walk around the yard, or do traditional exercises. Philips Lifeline shares 14 exercises seniors can try, like rolling your shoulders, doing wall push-ups, toe lifts, and more. If you decide to go outside to walk or jog, just refrain from joining large groups of people. Try to stay active even during this time while at home.
One of the best stories I’ve read recently is how two daughters are still managing to keep in touch with their mother despite the Coronavirus’ impact. CNN shares that Bridget Parkhill and her sister Carmen Gray visit their mother everyday outside of the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, one of the hardest hit places in our nation. They not only talk to their mother outside her window but also eat lunch with her.
Although this is a trying time for many families worldwide, we each can do our part in staying connected, helping where we can, and making sure those who are more vulnerable stay safe.