Coronavirus (COVID-19) , tips for the elderly and how to prevent your chance of infection

As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve, we are all being made acutely aware of the importance of preventing the spread of the virus, especially to the elderly who are particularly vulnerable.

Due to the immune system becoming compromised as we age and the elderly more likely to have other pre-existing health conditions, which can cause complications, the older generation (particularly those over 80 but even those as young as 60) need to exercise a significant degree of caution as they face potentially life-threatening risks if infected.

Tips for the elderly to prevent risk of being infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands before, during and after you have entered public spaces. This is essential to minimise the spread of the virus.
  • Cancel non-essential medical appointments. Doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and pharmacies should be avoided to minimise the chance of transmitting the virus. If you have a standard check up, follow up appointment or elective procedure that can wait, it should.
  • Stay home as much as possible. Whilst there is so much uncertainty about the prevalence of COVID-19 in Australia the safest place for you to be is in the comfort of your own home.
  • Minimise visitors. Although it can be an extremely isolating experience, it is important to minimise visitors during these uncertain times, even those that seem well. Make sure you have a landline or mobile phone that you can use to stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Stock up on groceries and essentials. This will ensure you don’t have to go to crowded supermarkets more often than necessary. If you can, ask a neighbour or family member to do your grocery shopping for you to eliminate the need entirely.
  • Stock up on medication. Again so you aren’t required to leave the house unnecessarily, make sure you at least one month of medication on hand. You can also find out if your chemist can deliver if you are running low.
  • Avoid public transport, plane and cruise travel entirely. With tight quarters on cruises and close proximity to other passengers, risk of transmission of the virus is largely increased. If you have made plans they should be cancelled of postponed to a later date to reassess.

Tips to care for or a loved one in these uncertain times

  • Minimise visits to care homes. If your loved one is in a care home, minimise face-to-face visits as much as possible. The risk of spreading infection at this point is too high and the elderly are too vulnerable.
  • Teach your loved one to be tech savvy. Or at the very least, get them a basic mobile phone that they can use to make calls whenever they want! Even better, if they can use a smartphone for basic FaceTime or Skype functions you can still have face-to-face time with them without even having to be in the same room.
  • Entertainment. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and boredom especially if having to self isolate and reduce visitors. Get them hooked up with a Netflix account or stock of DVDs – ensure they have enough crossword and puzzle books to entertain themselves in periods of self-isolation.
  • Check in on them often. Whether it is your family member, friend or neighbour. Check in with them often to ensure they are healthy, happy and have everything they need in their home so they don’t have to leave and put themselves at risk. Offer to purchase groceries or pick up prescriptions.
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