With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty going on in the world, especially regarding what precautions seniors should take to keep them safe, such as a healthy planned lifestyle. Although anyone can get COVID-19, seniors are more susceptible to receiving the more serious end of the disease.
Anyone can be affected by COVID-19, but the elderly and ones with underlying conditions are the most at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)lists the following people with these pre-existing conditions as those at high risk:
- Adults 65 years or older
- Anyone living in a nursing home or living facility
- Anyone suffering from
- Chronic lung disease
- Moderate to severe asthma
- Severe heart conditions
- Severe obesity
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease and undergoing dialysis
If you or a loved one has one or a multitude of these attributes, it is extra important to take the necessary extra precautions to ensure one’s health is not compromised.
The CDC highly recommends to do the following to keep healthy:
- Stay at home.
- Wash your hands often, in 20-second intervals. If you do not have hand soap readily available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Stay six feet away from people.
- If you do have to go out, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth.
- If you sneeze or cough, cover it with the inside of your elbow or into a kleenex. Do not do so into your hands. After sneezing or coughing, immediately wash your hands.
- Disinfect items that are frequently touched (i.e. doorknobs, remote controls, faucet handles, etc.)
- Do NOT travel.
- Talk to your doctor about how at-risk you are and how your underlying conditions may affect your health with COVID-19.
While you or your loved one is staying home and not venturing out, it is recommended to get exercise. This can easily be done by going for a quick 15-30 minute walk or stretching outside. By doing so, you are not only getting exercise, but also vitamin D.
Along with physical exercise, mental exercise is equally as important. You can help pass the time inside by playing board games, doing puzzles, painting or crossword puzzles. These activities will not only help you and your loved one pass-time, but will also stimulate cognitive health.
Moreso now than ever, a healthy diet is pivotal to maintaining healthy during this time. Keep a healthy diet of three meals a day that include protein, vegetables, fruits, dairy and any vitamins or medications prescribed to you or your loved one.
How to Cope During the Pandemic
Being under quarantine and living in a “new normal” daily routine can cause a lot of stress on you and your loved ones, especially with the higher risk of the illness in older adults.
The CDC provides some helpful tips on what you and your loved ones can do to relieve stress and anxiety during this time.
- Take a break from the news. Constantly watching, reading or listening to the news and updates regarding the pandemic can overwhelm you and cause an immense amount of stress.
- Take care of yourself. Make time for relaxing and do stretches, deep breaths or meditation. Focus on eating healthy, getting enough rest and exercising.
- Stay connected. Although you may be in quarantine, with technology like social media and FaceTime, it is easy to still get human contact, even if it’s through a phone. Use your phone, laptop, or tablet to call friends and family and check up on them.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Another great way to stay ahead of the pandemic is to know what the symptoms are of COVID-19 and when to quarantine or seek treatment.
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe but can include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The typical incubation period of the virus is 2-14 days after being exposed. If you or your loved one believe to have been exposed to the virus, it is best to quarantine yourself.
The CDC notes to seek medical attention if you are having trouble breathing, chest pressure/pain, or bluish lip or face.
For older adults with underlying conditions, these symptoms may be more prominent or on the extreme side, so it is always best to seek attention at the first notice of troubling symptoms.
Stay Safe. Stay Calm
To ensure the safety and health of you and your loved ones, especially the elderly, follow all federal guidelines. Avoid going out as much as possible. If you do have to leave the house, cover your mouth and nose and even wear gloves. Wash your hands often and avoid close contact with other people. If you feel like you may have the virus, quarantine yourself or seek medical attention right away if the symptoms worsen.
Keep in virtual contact with friends and family and remember we are in this together.