According to the CDC, elderly people, especially those with chronic health conditions, are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. And of those who contract the virus, people aged 80 and older are far more likely to die.
So what can we do to support senior friends and loved ones during this health crisis? Here are some practical ways that you can help.
Keep Your Distance
People who are at higher risk of contracting the virus, like the elderly, are encouraged to stay away from crowds. So unless there is an emergency, it’s best to limit contact. If you absolutely have to be around a senior friend or neighbor, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and even consider wearing a mask.
Check in regularly
Call, text or email senior friends to check up on them, and do so regularly. Symptoms can progress more swiftly in elderly people, especially if they have underlying health concerns. If they are experiencing a cough, fever, or breathing difficulties, contact their doctor immediately.
Postpone unnecessary appointments
Routine doctor’s visits, eye appointments and dental visits that can be rescheduled should be postponed. Sitting in a waiting room surrounded by sick people is just not a good idea. And since the virus can remain in the air for up to 3 hours and on surfaces for two to three days, it’s best to avoid exposure completely.
Stock up on medicine and food items
Be aware of what medications your friend or loved one is taking, and make sure they have plenty on hand for the next few weeks. If they need prescriptions filled, go and do it for them. The last place they need to be is in a crowded pharmacy or grocery store. And be sure they have enough non-perishable food items to last for a while, as well as basic supplies like toilet paper and cleaning products. If you deliver items to their house, it’s a good idea to wipe down all surfaces with an antibacterial cleaner before giving it to them.
The first response for many of us when we hear of a crisis is that we want to go and do something. In the case of a pandemic, the best way to help the elderly is to donate money to support medical professionals and senior care organizations as they care for those affected by the virus. As more cases arise, the financial needs will grow as well. But if we all contribute what we can to the efforts, then seniors will have access to the care they need.
As we move into this unprecedented season of illness, being educated on the situation and practicing good hygiene are our best defensive strategies. The greatest way to help others is to keep from getting sick yourself. Here are some practical guidelines from the CDC on how to control and prevent the coronavirus.
Stay safe people!
Join the Be A Neighbor campaign
Communities are the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, and nonprofits are the frontline for critical community services. We’re mobilizing every possible volunteer so we can all help — safely and appropriately. Visit BeANeighborCampaign.com to get involved.