It’s not surprising that elderly individuals are among the most vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. This is especially true for those with preexisting medical conditions, including diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and cancer.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is viral and highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. Easily spread from person-to-person, carriers of the virus can be asymptomatic and still infect others.
So, what are the symptoms of COVID-19? Some people have had mild to severe respiratory illness including symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Others have reported headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and sore throat…symptoms that mimic the flu. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
How to Keep Elderly Loved Ones Safe?
1. First and foremost, keep yourself well. As a caretaker, guardian, or responsible party of the elderly, you should take as many precautions as possible to avoid becoming infected.
2. Frequently washing your hands with soap and water is imperative. You should wash for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, providing care, touching surfaces in public places, and of course using the restroom.
3. Frequently clean surfaces in your home, including countertops, light switches, handles, tables, and anything your elderly loved one may use. These include grab bars, canes, walkers, and medical equipment.
4. Limit the number of “in-person” visits. Although older adults value the time they spend with friends and family members, it’s important to limit exposure due to the highly contagious disease.
5. Practice physical and social distancing. Avoid crowds. This does not mean social isolation, which can lead to sadness, loneliness, and depression. Keep the distance required by the CDC to help lower the risk of seniors contracting COVID-19.
6. Maintaining proper hygiene habits is important. Not only frequently washing your hands, but if you cough or sneeze, do so into a disposable tissue or into the bend of your elbow. In addition, keep your hands away from your face if possible. This will reduce the risk of contaminating other surfaces.
7. Encourage your elderly loved ones to keep in contact with friends and family. Using technology, such as video chats, phone calls, tablets, or laptops can keep everyone connected during this difficult time. Ask others to write cards, telephone, or visit outside the residence of your family member. This lets your loved one know they are not alone and that others are thinking about them.
8. It’s important to keep your elderly loved ones involved. Projects and crafts help keep them busy and engaged. Try going through and organizing memorabilia and old photos together. This will give them a chance to reminisce about their past, sharing stories and happy memories, singing favorite songs, discuss favorite movies, or discuss an old family recipe. Additionally, give them something to do, within their abilities, to feel important and part of the family. Surprisingly, doing laundry, dishes, or light housework can give them a sense of responsibility.
9. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many places of worship are temporarily closed. Communities of Faith are an important part of social lives of many older adults. Help your loved one access online worship services has a way to find spiritual support, comfort, and compassion.
10. Wearing masks will help protect those around you from being contaminated. Your mask will protect others, while their masks help to protect you. Using masks during home care, in healthcare settings, and while out in the community (for essential services) is necessary. For additional information about the use of masks, click here.
Keeping your senior loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic may not an easy task, but it’s a necessary one. Avanti Senior Living has not only followed the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the local, state, and federal governments, they have gone above and beyond to ensure their elderly residents are happy, healthy, and safe.
For more information about COVID-19, check out this factsheet.
For additional information about Avanti Senior Living and the steps they’re taking to keep their residents safe, call 281-907-9553 or visit their website at https://www.avanti-sl.com/ to find a location near you.