How to Protect Seniors from COVID-19

The older an individual is, the more susceptible they are to developing severe illnesses from COVID-19. When older adults contract the disease, they might need hospitalization and intensive care to survive, especially when they have underlying conditions that increase the risk, such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.

If you are living and caring for an elderly loved one at home, here are the necessary safety measures that will help keep them safe from the virus:

Maintain proper hygiene

Whether you are at home or visiting your loved one at a nursing home, proper hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid transmission. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands before and after you go to the bathroom, prepare food, and go out in public.
  • Sanitize your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer when out in public.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as phones, keys, wallets, doorknobs, and medical equipment.
  • Clean and sanitize items that you bring home.

Be wary in public

As much as possible, avoid going out in public, especially crowded areas. Doing so can increase your chances of bringing the virus home with you and passing it onto your loved ones. When you do have to go out, here are some essential points to remember:

  • Wear an appropriate face mask every time you go out. Dispose of or wash the face mask as soon as you get home. Make sure you know how to take on and take off the mask properly.
  • Use non-cash methods as much as possible.
  • Avoid crowded areas and places with poor ventilation.
  • Avoid touching doorknobs, handlebars, and other frequently touched items with your hands. Use your feet or elbows if you must.
  • Don’t wear gloves. This can increase the transfer of the virus from surface to surface.
  • If you have to, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
  • Practice physical distancing at all times.
  • Don’t bring your outside shoes into the house to avoid spreading the virus indoors.

Practice physical distancing

Physical distancing is the key, not social distancing. For many seniors, isolation and loneliness are already a threat to their physical and mental health even before the pandemic. Now that people aren’t allowed to gather or go out with others, it can be more difficult for them to stave off the loneliness. Fortunately, there are many ways to address this problem:

  • Help them stay connected with friends and family members through technology.
  • When doing in-person gatherings, conduct it in an open and well-ventilated space, preferably outdoors.
  • Cancel meetings if someone has been in contact with a carrier.
  • Have guests stay six feet apart from each other and remind them to stay a safe distance from the elderly.
  • Wear face coverings as much as possible.

Finally, the best way to keep your elderly loved ones safe is to stay at home yourself. Making these necessary sacrifices can help protect the health of everyone in the house, as well as everybody else around you.

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About the Author: Patrick R. Turner