We are living in uncertain and unsettling times, especially if you are an older adult or have a beloved senior in your life. Much of the research about coronavirus suggests that the elderly are at a heightened risk, regardless of whether seniors live at home or at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
At Alatsas Law Firm, we are very concerned about elder health and taking care of the seniors in our community. Here are some ways to keep the senior you love safe, protected, and prepared in the coronavirus era.
Why the Elderly Are at Risk for COVID-19
According to the CDC, eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been adults age 65 or older. Older adults are more likely to be hospitalized due to coronavirus symptoms, and many require admission to the intensive care unit. Researchers and doctors believe that this is true because elder health is often compromised by preexisting conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Elderly adults also may have weakened immune systems that aren’t able to fight off the virus.
Safety Precautions for Elder Health
In New York and all across the country, social distancing and self-quarantining measures are being recommended and ordered for the safety of all age groups and populations. However, these measures are especially important for elder health.
If you help care for an elderly parent, do your best to ensure that the senior doesn’t touch his or her face after touching germy surfaces, frequently washes hands with soap and water, and avoids contact with sick people. Unfortunately, there are currently no coronavirus vaccines approved for widespread use. But you can help your senior disinfect objects that he or she comes into contact with, such as door knobs and countertops. Also, encourage seniors to wear a face mask when sick and cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of germs.
Engaging with Your Loved One During Quarantine
Many nursing homes and assisted living centers are in “lockdown mode” and not allowing visitors. Even seniors who live at home are being asked to stay home and not receive social visits for their own safety. Quarantine measures can lead to fear, anxiety, and isolation among seniors, so it’s more important now than ever to engage with the seniors in your life.
If the senior lives in a care facility, call to ask the staff if they can arrange a video call with you and the senior so you can chat face-to-face. Send senior loved ones letters, puzzle games, books, and exercise DVDs. When you talk to loved ones, encourage them to stay well-hydrated, eat nutritious meals, and stay active to keep up their strength and defend themselves against this virus. You can also arrange for grocery and meal delivery to your senior’s home to avoid unnecessary trips out of the house.
Ensuring Legal Documentation is In Order
This is also an ideal time to ensure that seniors’ financial and legal arrangements are all in order to help everyone involved be more prepared. This might involve establishing or setting up a will, signing up for Medicare benefits, or reassessing the status of retirement accounts. Seniors may have more time to look into these matters now while stuck at home under quarantine and also gain peace of mind knowing their affairs are taken care of in case they become sick.