We know the fundamental rules of social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak: stay home as much as possible, keep 6 feet of distance from other people, and wash your hands frequently. But what specifically should older people be thinking about as the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop?
Follow social distancing rules, wash your hands and ask for help
For the most part, washing hands is probably still one of the most important things that anyone and everyone should be doing, and that is definitely true for older adults as well. Staying 6 feet away from others, not touching your face and really trying to avoid places where other people have been is very important. If you need to go out to the store, use hand sanitizer: take some with you, use it frequently through your trip, and get back home as soon as you can.
For senior citizens and adults older than 80, or who have chronic conditions like heart or lung disease: all of those factors put you at higher risk. If you can, ask for help and have other people take care of daily tasks like shopping or visiting the pharmacy.
Get outside and exercise
Getting out and going for a walk is absolutely OK. It’s probably one of the most important things you can do. People of all ages are strongly encourages people to keep up their exercise routines, even if they’re using a walker and what they can manage is going to their mailbox. Do it as many times a day as you can. Senior citizens and people of all ages needs to keep moving during this outbreak.
If you have to shop, use seniors-only hours
Shopping during these hours might be safer with fewer people in the store. Also, a variety of grocery stores have been offering seniors-only hours first thing in the morning. That’s when surfaces in the store should have been recently cleaned. If it’s possible to go during senior hours, and you don’t have anyone to do your grocery shopping for you.
Social isolation can hurt overall health
Many older adults are going to see their networks of social contacts narrow. It’s important to increase your social contacts while you’re not having face-to-face contact.
So, call people.
If you haven’t figured out social media in the past, this is the time to get your grandchild on the phone to show you how to set it up. Plenty of social media applications allow you to see people’s faces and communicate more realistically with friends and family.
Being flexible with changing routines is key
Learning to adapt is one of the most important components of healthy aging, whether it’s adjusting to a walker, a hearing aid, or changing your shopping routine. Many older adults have those skills deep in them: remember, many people in the older generation lived through World War II or the Great Depression. Dig deep and bring those skills to bear.
Have a plan for if you do get sick
Think about this before you develop symptoms or know that you’ve contracted the virus. For anyone over 80 or with heart and lung disease, the outcomes of a severe coronavirus infection are very bad.
Going to the hospital and being put you on a ventilator, in reality may do very little good. Many people who are placed on ventilators have to be on them for 10 to 20 days as they’re gradually brought through this viral illness. Often older people come out of this so debilitated that they lose significant physical function.
Want to help? Reach out to your community
In-person volunteer activities for older adults are indeed quite reduced these days: They’re either shut down, or social distancing rules are preventing a lot of older adults from participating.
Reach out to friends and family by phone or online and keeping up these connections. If you can still cook and drive, you can probably cook something lovely and drive it to the doorstep of a friend or family member who is more frail than you are.
At the end of the day, if you’re a grandchild, call your grandmother. If you’re a grandfather, call your grandkids. This is a great time for families to really come together and connect.
By David Lasman – “Ask Medicare Dave” | President – Senior Healthcare Team
wwww.SeniorHealthcareTeam.com | 866-333-7340
Selecting the right healthcare plan through Medicare can be overwhelming and downright stressful. Senior Healthcare Team is a nationwide resource that provides guidance and support about Medicare to seniors at no cost to them and helps them to choose the most suitable insurance plan tailored to their specific needs and budget. Our goal is to educate and empower our clients to make the best decisions regarding their healthcare and clear up the confusion of Medicare. At Senior Healthcare Team, we aren’t partial to any one insurance company. Our loyalty is to our clients and our mission is to provide them with the best healthcare options at the very lowest cost.