20 Mar Helping the Elderly During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As cases of coronavirus continue to be reported around the world, the weeks and months ahead will stretch healthcare systems and society to the extreme. It is important to get information directly from official government sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whenever possible. Here are the links for the websites of the CDC and CDC California:
Why are the elderly more vulnerable to coronavirus?
There are both physical and social reasons. First, elderly people generally have weaker immune systems and are more vulnerable to infectious diseases of all types. They are also more likely to have existing conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease, which weaken their body’s ability to fight infectious disease.
The vast majority of fatalities from the COVID-19 virus are from patients with other existing conditions, which become aggravated due to the coronavirus. Keeping symptoms managed is the key to surviving the coronavirus, especially during early stages before the lungs are affected.
In early exposure countries, such as Italy, Spain and South Korea, officials are reporting higher rates of infection in high-capacity institutionalized settings, such as large retirement communities. Crowded living conditions allow the virus to spread, creating a greater risk of infection.
Elderly patients are also likely to have isolation or mobility challenges. In isolation, they can’t get information about how to protect themselves, or unable to get food as things become more difficult. In most developed societies, seniors are statistically more likely to live in poverty than younger citizens, which creates an additional challenge as poverty makes it more difficult to obtain supplies.
For those aged 60 and above, what can you do to protect yourself?
The main message is to change specific behaviors for two to three months.
During this 2 to 3-month time, the following is recommended:
- Understand that most people are infectious before they show any symptoms (asymptomatic)
- Practice social distancing of 6’ at all times
- Do not leave home unless absolutely necessary
- Have neighbors or church groups provide assistance with shopping
- Avoid shaking hands, hugging or any other close contact
- Wash your hands whenever you leave or return home
- Avoid touching your face unless you have immediately washed your hands
For more information, read the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for at-risk groups here. Pacific Pines is committed to the safety and health of all people and will continue to provide information and updates as they become available. Thank you.