While people of all ages can get sick from COVID-19, seniors and people with underlying medical conditions such as lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes are at the highest risk of serious complications from this virus. Unfortunately, 8 out of 10 deaths in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years and older. As such, many adult children are wondering: What information do my aging parents need regarding COVID-19?
CDC Recommendations for Aging Adults
In this health pandemic and time of uncertainty, it is critical that families and neighbors step up to offer support and care for aging adults. These care services are different than in the past, since in-person contact needs to be limited. Here are a few recommendations provided by the CDC for aging adults, so you know how to help your aging parents:
- Stay Home if Possible: Staying home is the safest practice because it limits exposure to the virus. Encourage your parents to avoid grocery stores and other public places. Many aging adults are choosing to use grocery delivery services or curbside pickup. Family members can also assist by leaving groceries on the porch.
- Social Distancing: If there is a need to leave their home, people of all ages should practice social distancing. The recommendation is to maintain at least 6 feet distance between people. Even when your aging parents are staying home, they should not be having visitors unless they are providing essential care. This can be a hard rule to follow within extended families, particularly when birthdays, holidays, or other important family events occur, or when grandchildren are asking to see their grandparents. It may help to remind yourself and your loved ones that this is a temporary situation and that eventually families can be together in person.
- Phone Conversations: Talk to your parents about the severity of the situation and explain why in-person visits are changing. Be proactive in calling your aging parents often to check-in on their physical and mental health. Visitors in senior living facilities are restricted right now, so phone contact and video chats are important for helping reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression.
- Cleanliness at Home: Hand washing and sanitizing surfaces is an important practice for everyone. Additionally, older adults should take steps to sanitize new things that come into the home, such as groceries or package deliveries.
- Watch for Symptoms: Common coronavirus symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea. Watch for potential symptoms that might indicate that medical care is needed. Do not delay calling your parent/s healthcare provider if symptoms occur. They can advise you on steps to take at home, or if medical care is needed.
Prevention to Avoid Infection
Since aging adults have a high risk of complications, it is important to be proactive in preventing exposure to coronavirus. If personal healthcare recommendations are needed, then Windward Life Care is here to assist. We can help you access telemedicine options and advocate for your needs within the healthcare system.