Identify and pay attention to risks.
While most seniors, particularly those in care and living facilities, are just staying home, it is still vital to understand the risk factors for your elderly loved one and the community he belongs to. For example, if he lives in an area with a high number of Covid-19 infections, that’s already a red flag. It is safer to keep your loved one at home, away from all the risks in such cases – no unnecessary trips, such as dining in restaurants or walking in the park.
If your senior family member is in a living facility or nursing home, ensure that the place is safe and protected from all risk factors.
Follow CDC guidelines.
It’s essential to take CDC guidelines seriously. To make sure that your loved one – and his caregiver are constantly reminded, you can post this list somewhere in the house or room:
● Stay home.
● Practice physical/social distancing. When around people, especially those you do not know, make sure you are at least six feet away from them.
● Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes.
● Wash your hands with soap and clean water as often as you can. Scrub them well for at least 20 seconds. Sing the Happy Birthday song while washing (it’s 20 seconds long!).
● If water and soap are not available, use alcohol with 70% isopropyl content. You can also use hand sanitizer, but be sure it has 60% alcohol.
● Disinfect all items that come from outside and those that you frequently touch.
● When you cough or sneeze in public or around other people, do so into a tissue or on the inside part of your elbow. Do not use your hands.
● If it is essential to go out, wear a face mask.
● Do not travel.
Regular exercise is vital.
Exercise is essential regardless of whether there’s a pandemic or not. Staying physically active is vital, especially for seniors. Exercise helps develop their strength and lessen risks to accidents and injuries and protects against diseases like osteoporosis. Working out also boosts a person’s immune system.
It does not have to be heavy or difficult exercises; low-impact ones will do. What’s important is the frequency of the activity. The more regular the workout, the better it will be for your loved one.
Some examples of low-impact exercises seniors can do include walking, dancing, stretching, and yoga. Fifteen to 30 minutes a day doing any of or combining these activities will do your senior loved one a lot of good.
A proper diet is important, as well.
Aside from regular exercise, strictly following a proper diet is also essential. Seniors need all the nutrients they can get, so preparing healthy meals should be a priority. If you’re not sure what to give your elderly loved one, ask your healthcare worker for suggestions. These meals usually include vegetables, protein, fruits, and dairy.
Don’t forget to include any medications and vitamins prescribed by your loved one’s physician.
Buy all the essentials your senior family member needs – food, medication, vitamins, toiletries, and pet supplies (if he has a furry companion). Make sure the stock is good for at least three months.
So you won’t have to leave the house, hire a delivery service to do the shopping for you.
Be strict with the safety rules for your home/your senior family member’s home.
If it is necessary to allow visitors to your or your senior loved one’s home, strictly implement safety rules. Refuse entry to anyone who does not follow your guidelines. Standard home safety protocols include disinfecting before entering the house, removing shoes, wearing a face mask, washing hands, and social distancing. If possible, ask guests to go straight to the bathroom to wash up and put on clean clothes.
Also, extend the quarantine area to several meters away from your home.
Avail of virtual or online, delivery, or drive-thru services.
Embrace the new normal and avail of the advantages provided by technology. Instead of bringing your senior family member to the doctor’s clinic for his regular check-up, go for video conferencing. Many doctors offer online consultations to patients.
When buying food or groceries, use drive-thru and delivery services. These alternatives are safer and prevent your senior loved one and the rest of the family members from Covid-19 risks.
Finally, take care of your loved one’s emotional and mental health.
Staying home for months can affect anyone’s emotional and mental health. While some people are quite comfortable with this, some find it difficult to cope with the isolation.
For seniors and the elderly under assisted care, their caregivers and healthcare workers can provide the companionship they need. For those who are stuck at home, alone, the circumstances are different.
You can help your loved one by regularly talking to him, even if it’s just over the phone or through video conferencing apps. If you live in the same house, find time to do activities together, such as watching movies, telling stories, reading, and other fun stuff that do not require you to go out.
Talk to your healthcare worker for more suggestions on what to do.
Safety Precautions For Seniors During The Pandemic — With Seniors In Mind is written by Jane Rohde for www.withseniorsinmind.org