Keeping Your Senior Loved Ones Safe Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
With the President just declaring a National Emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more relevant than ever to discuss how we can all help keep our elderly loved ones safe in their homes. Because home-bound seniors are safest right where they are (at home!), the burden falls on caregivers and visitors to practice the utmost caution when providing care. And because home-bound seniors can’t leave their home due to illness or mobility issues, visitors pose the greatest risk to their health.
At home care that follows strict protocol during times like these is essential. From limiting visitation to practicing good hand washing techniques, here’s how you can lower their risk for contracting COVID-19 or any other illness for that matter.
While coronavirus can infect anyone, older adults (age 60 and up) are at the most risk of getting seriously sick from it because their immune system weakens with age, says CNN. If you’re over the age of 80, you’re at an even higher risk.
What Seniors and Caregivers Can Do
- Cancel all non-essential doctor appointments, whether it’s a standard check-up or a follow-up appointment for a stable chronic condition or elective procedure. Use this rule of thumb: if it can wait, it should.
- Wash your hands frequently, and thoroughly. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to properly wash your hands. Hint: you’re not doing it right!
- Put hand sanitizer on bedside tables or in the den when you can’t readily get to a sink for a soap and water clean. Keep hand sanitizer near the front door so all visitors, including caregivers, can take a quick pump before entering.
- Stock up on all the basics: toothpaste, detergent, toilet paper, tissues, etc. Consider ordering online or from grocery delivery services if store shelves are bare.
- Make sure you are up to date on all prescription medications. Have a caregiver run out and pick up any outstanding prescriptions. In many cases, you can’t stock up ahead of time on prescriptions, but you can mail order them if you have to.
- Make meals ahead of time and freeze them.
- For seniors that occasionally like to get out of the house, halt all unnecessary visits to public places where crowds may gather or poorly-ventilated buildings increase risk of transmission. This includes places of worship, retail stores and malls, senior center programs, etc.
- Family caregivers should avoid bringing children and pets to visit seniors.
- Limit visits of all kinds to only the essential.
- Encourage regular exercise and a healthy diet, just like always.
Families Should Think Ahead
There are things family, friends and neighbors of older adults can do for their senior loved one who is isolated at home.
- Ask yourself: Does my mother, father, sibling, etc. have what they need to spend an extended period of time inside? If the answer is no, help them prepare and gather supplies.
- If their senior home care services provider calls in sick, who can step in to take care of the senior? Make sure you have a plan in place to make sure they get care when and if they need it.
- If a family member is sick, refrain from visiting. Call on the phone or video chat instead.
- If a younger, healthy family member has come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, they must self-isolate and avoid visiting older, more susceptible family members.
It takes diligence, patience and forethought to keep everyone safe during this pandemic. We can help. All of the caregivers here at Preferred HealthStaff take necessary precautions to protect themselves and the seniors they care for.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
To learn more about how you can keep the senior in your life from contracting COVID-19, the flu or any other contagious illness, please contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500. Our senior care services are designed to keep your loved one safe and happy at all times, but especially during pandemics such as coronavirus.