How to help seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic..
An elderly lady at her window
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world as we know it. There is almost no person whose life is not affected by the appearance of the new virus, no matter what they think of it. We only had several weeks to adapt to the new situation, and many of us are struggling to keep our sanity through all this. However, there is one group of people who are at higher risk of getting infected – older adults. They are advised to stay at home at all times, which many of them find really difficult to do. Now, let’s see how we can help seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The elderly population is the most vulnerable
The coronavirus that is spreading across the world is causing fear and panic almost everywhere it appears. One of the facts specific to COVID-19 is that people over the age of 65 are very vulnerable to it.
The mortality rates vary from one country to another, but that is mainly due to the statistics they use and the number of tested persons. For instance, in China, the rate is around 4%, while in Italy, it reaches 9%. One of the reasons for such a result is that Italy has a somewhat older population – many victims were older than 80. Most of those people were also suffering from severe underlying medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension, or even cancer), but that doesn’t change the fact that the infection can be dangerous.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic is to stay at home
Now that we are aware of the danger the new illness represents, we know why it is so important to protect our elderly parents, relatives, friends, and neighbors. The younger the person is, the milder symptoms they will have. For instance, children can be infected, and they can spread the virus quickly since they usually don’t have any symptoms. That is why it is crucial to keep kids away from seniors during this global pandemic.
Check on the seniors from your neighborhood
If you have older adults living in your building, it would be nice to check on them once a day. You can stop by on your way to the grocery store and see whether there is something you can do or buy for them. Since the COVID-19 is highly contagious, you should respect social distancing measures and have a mask on when visiting. Remember, even though you are trying to help, you can put their health at risk if you are not cautious enough. When you visit them for the first time, get their phone numbers for future reference so that you can contact them without the slightest risk of infection. Ring them when you are planning to go to the supermarket or a pharmacy. Seniors will appreciate your concern and willingness to help.
The isolation is not the end of the world
Not being able to participate in social life in person can be stressful for some citizens, but isolation doesn’t mean that everything must stop. For instance, if your elderly friend was planning on going on a trip before the pandemic happened, you can help them postpone it instead of canceling. Also, let them know that safe relocation is possible if that was their plan before this situation. It takes a bit more effort and a lot more caution, but it is certainly viable. Many events will have to be postponed and rescheduled, but there is nothing more important than human lives. Companies providing services are also run by people like you and me, surely they will understand.
Social distance” written on a board Keeping social distance is crucial to stop spreading the virus
Take their pets for a walk
It is not easy for older adults to understand that all of a sudden, they are advised to be isolated in their homes due to a virus. Some of them disregard such measures (which are legally binding in some countries) because they don’t believe the situation to be as serious as it is. On the other hand, many elderly people simply do not have anybody younger to rely on. They have to do their own shopping and other errands. Many of them have pets that need to be taken out for a walk once or twice a day. This is where you can help. Being isolated due to a threat such as a disease is extremely difficult. Pet owners usually find comfort in their furry friends but also worry about them. Who will take them for a walk? Who can get them to a vet when necessary? Who will buy them food? If you are willing to do that for your neighbor, you will become their hero!
Be there for them if they are lonely
Again, the safest way to interact with people from vulnerable generations is over the phone. Seniors are often lonely, and a conversation with anyone can help them get through the day, especially now when they are isolated. Some will be optimistic and talk to you about their youth, while others might be pessimistic and more in the mood to discuss estate planning. Even if you disagree with some of their attitudes, lend them a hearing ear and try to understand.
Get them a book, a magazine or anything else you think they might like
Food and medicine are the first items that come to mind when thinking about how to help seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, keeping them entertained also matters. A good book can mean a lot and help them maintain their sanity during a crisis like the current one. If the elderly you are helping are eager to learn something new, why not? You can get them the materials for language learning courses, help them install some interesting apps, or suggest a hobby they might want to try.
It is essential to protect each other now so that we can be together when the emergency is over. Be responsible and be safe!
For More updates about Covid-19 Visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/
Author: Lindsay Denton