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Coronavirus in seniors: Caregiving for the elderly
Seniors, being the more vulnerable population in society, are especially important to keep informed about safety during the pandemic. Adults that are 60 and older are more prone to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Those with underlying comorbidities, especially heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and those with a high BMI are even more susceptible. It’s important that both seniors and caregivers take the necessary precautions in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some safety precautions both a caregiver and an older adult can practice in the time of COVID-19: 

  1. Proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, being sure to lather the back of your hands, between fingers, and under nails. Wash before and after providing care, preparing food, using the bathroom, or touching surfaces in public places.
  2. Practice social distancing. Limiting in-person visits may be tough for older adults, but practicing social distancing is important. Avoid the urge to shake hands or hug your loved one, and instead opt for a friendly wave or shoe bump. This keeps everyone safe while also letting them know you care.
  3. Utilize technology to stay connected. Social distancing is difficult, but using technology to stay connected to family members may make older adults feel purposeful and less lonely. Show your loved one how to video chat with smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Write notes or send cards to lift your loved one’s spirits and let them know you’re thinking about them.
  4. Keep your hands away from your face. Most of the germs that cause disease reside on our hands, so avoid touching your face. Wearing a mask may also help with protection from germs entering your mouth and nose. If you cough or sneeze, do so in the bend of your elbow or into a disposable tissue.
  5. Do some spring cleaning. Clean surfaces in your home often, especially areas of your home that you or a loved one use frequently. Mobility and medical equipment used by your loved one, such as walkers, canes, and handrails, are also important to sanitize frequently. Try to keep them sanitized with wipes or disinfectant spray on a regular basis.
  6. Re-schedule unnecessary doctor visits. Non-essential doctor appointments, like check-ups and follow-ups, can be postponed for another time. This will limit potential exposure to the virus. Try opting for the use of telemedicine, which enables doctors and patients to communicate through video rather than in person. If you’re sick and need immediate medical assistance, call your primary care provider or go to the hospital.
  7. Arrange for deliveries. Have your loved one or caregiver arrange for grocery shopping, prescriptions, mail, or any other supplies to be delivered to your home so your loved one can stay safe without potentially exposing themselves by leaving the house.
  8. Manage stress. During this time of uncertainty, stress and anxiety can be predominant emotions. See our previous blog post entitled Stress Awareness Month: Stress in Seniors for some healthy ways to cope with the stress that comes with the coronavirus.
Happier at Home cares about your safety. In the time of COVID-19, it’s especially important for you and your loved one to maintain safe practices to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Our caregivers are also taking extra precautions when taking care of your loved ones to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
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