It used to be that our advice for the seniors, who have the highest susceptibility to acquiring coronavirus, is social engagement. Now it is social distancing.
As the number of positive COVID-19 cases increases day by day, the dangers also increase, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly. This is because most of them have existing medical illnesses, which include heart disease, diabetes, respiratory conditions, and kidney complications. The current reports from China showed that most of the cases that involved the elderly died of respiratory illnesses, among others. As the infection continues to spread – with the reports and tests suggests that it will – we must prioritize our care for our seniors and protect them from this deadly virus.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities in the United States and around the world are dedicated to keeping updated with the local and national guidelines for testing and proper wearing of protecting equipment. They make sure that they practice correct hygiene and teach their patients and the public about it. They go out of their way to clean their facilities and implement a touch-it-take-it rule when it comes to brochures, cards, and flyers. Most importantly, they strongly urge their patients to contact their doctor if they feel sick, or they notice respiratory symptoms.
It is vital to do everything in our power to protect the people that are highly at risk for moderate to severe infection and decrease their exposure to the virus. Distance yourself to individuals who are not feeling well. Keep away from large crowds. If you need to be out in public, limit your time, say, in supermarkets if you are there to buy essential needs. Remember always to wash your hands. And if your area is included as one of the most infected, you must stay at home.
Social distancing is the new norm these days, and it opposes what we usually advise for the seniors in our community, as we often encourage them to engage socially and to mingle with fellow seniors as well as any generation so that they’d feel active. Now, we constantly remind them of the consequences of talking with people without keeping their distance. However, along with the dangers of the infection also come the dangers of social isolation. How are the elderly going to cope with these challenges? How can they stay connected to the outside world amidst the pandemic? Here are some tips for them.
Be active in your community, even if you’re at home. How do they do that? Find remote options for them to communicate, like using the internet or making phone calls. Some non-profit organizations form volunteer groups that help people keep in touch and updated with the current situation.
Watch travel shows, cooking shows, and other relaxing television shows. It’s nice for them to stay informed about local or international news. Still, the elderly being the elderly, often are sensitive to almost everything, and more bad news might stress them out and cause them to be more anxious than they already are. So turn to shows that they find interesting to them. If they love to cook, let them watch Martha Stewart or other cooking shows. If they’re more into leisure, then suggest game shows. Let them limit their news watch to at most 30 minutes.
Let them use new technology. They’re going to enjoy keeping in touch with their family and friends through the new platforms on the web, like Facetime, Skype, Zoom, and Facebook. It’s the best time for you to teach them since you’re not doing much as well. And it’ll keep them occupied for a while too since it’ll take longer for them to learn and apply what they have learned. If you’re busy, let your teens set up an account for them.
Social distancing may cause us to keep our distance physically, but it doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated too. Let’s try our best to keep our seniors not to be so misled by this deadly virus to the point that they will be alone. More than ever, they need to be socially and emotionally connected to the outside world.