We learn more about it each day, but one thing we know clearly is that Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a grave threat to older Americans. What steps can all of us take to protect them? And what steps do seniors need to take to protect themselves? What about our loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities?
There are many steps you can still take to prepare as well as to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Minimizing Your Exposure to Coronavirus
It’s best for seniors to limit their exposure to others. Some people with Coronavirus are asymptomatic, and they can transmit it unknowingly. Furthermore, it’s possible to transmit the virus before you start showing symptoms. Protect yourself by practicing safe social distancing.
If you must go out, bring hand sanitizer with you and avoid touching your face. When you return home, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Sing the Happy Birthday song twice through while you wash. It’s also wise to disinfect your phone when you come home. Using disinfectant wipes, regularly disinfect doorknobs, remote controls, and other hard surfaces, and wipe down items you bring into your home.
Preparing Your Home for Coronavirus
For the Kitchen:
- Buy non-perishable foods such as pasta and sauce, rice, lentils and beans, oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, canned tomatoes, granola, protein bars, nut butters, and canned tuna.
- Prepare for sick days with staples like crackers, chicken broth, and Gatorade.
- Fill your fridge with eggs, dairy, veggies, and fruit.
- Fill your freezer with protein.
For Your Medicine Cabinet:
- Make sure you have a thermometer.
- Be prepared with a fever reducer and whatever medication you prefer to take for a cold and a cough.
- Have an adequate supply of your prescription medication.
Coronavirus and Retirement Communities and Nursing Homes
If you live in a retirement community or nursing home, you should stay where you are and limit your exposure to those who don’t live there. Chances are that your community may put those restrictions in place. Because this virus is quite dangerous to seniors, it is wise to follow the restrictions even though they may seem extreme or even burdensome. The Department of Veterans Affairs has barred outsiders from its 134 nursing home facilities.
For those with older loves ones that they can’t visit at this time, consider phone calls and even snail mail. Staying connected it vital. Use the time you would have spent visiting to write letters or even to make something to send. Do your best to help your loved one avoid a sense of loneliness and isolation. You could even suggest watching a favorite TV show or movie together over the phone.
For the latest news and advice for seniors visit this link to the AARP website:
Get the latest news and guidance on Coronavirus.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious threat to the health of older Americans, particularly those in nursing homes. Fortunately, this threat is being taken seriously. We all have choices to make to help keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
There are many steps you can take to protect yourself during this time. Practicing the appropriate social distancing, being prepared with the items you need in your home, and following good handwashing and disinfecting procedures are the major ones. Also important is to watch out for your loved ones, especially those in nursing homes. Respect the procedures and do what you can to help alleviate loneliness and anxiety during these difficult days.