Amidst the ambiguity swirling around the coronavirus pandemic, stands one undeniable fact that this highly contagious coronavirus affects the elderly population the most and the highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with underlying medical conditions. Also Read: Coronavirus: Effective Ways To Prevent The Transmission Of This Deadly Virus
In an attempt to stop a sharp spike in the confirmed coronavirus cases in India, mostly in the elderly population, the Prime Minister had addressed the whole nation on April 14 and had announced to extend the lockdown till May 3, at the rear of COVID-19 Pandemic. He had requested all the countrymen to strictly adhere and follow the lockdown rules and maintain social distancing by staying indoor to effectively contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Central government of India has already issued a statement several weeks back and asked all senior citizens (above the age of 65) to stay at home for the next few weeks since the infection affects the elderly the most. These advisory regulations are effective on everyone above 65 except for public representatives, govt. servants or medical professionals.
The PM had made a sincere appeal to the citizens to take the utmost care of the elderly people at home, specifically those with chronic disease conditions. Although the coronavirus can spread to anyone, it is the elderly population that poses a severe threat towards getting infected. Elderly citizens above the age of 60 and above have an already compromised immune system. Be it diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, exposure to this lethal virus can aggravate the present comorbidity to life-threatening levels such as pneumonia or respiratory failure. Hence, it is very important for elderly people to build their immunity by taking immune-boosting foods and drink plenty of warm water to keep infections at bay.’
According to CDC and based on the latest data so far, people ages 60 and up who have multiple co-morbid conditions are at higher risk of the novel coronavirus infection symptoms of which include fever, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing, and it is primarily spread between people via airborne droplets. Also Read: Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Here's How You Can Prevent The Spread Of The Virus In The Elderly Population:
What To Do?
If you have an elderly at home with a serious underlying medical condition, ask them to follow these steps:
Encourage them to practice hand hygiene by washing hands often preferably with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Make sure they stay out of crowded places.
- Keep a watch so that they sanitise their hands before touching their nose or mouth.
- Prevent getting them coming into close contact with already sick people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched services.
- Avert them from taking cruise travels and non-essential air travels
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
- Cancel non-essential doctor’s appointment or any kind of hospital visit, if you have an elderly at home.
- Isolate yourself or any other family member from the elderly person as soon as you witness any ongoing symptoms.
How To Take Care Of Elderly While Staying Away?
In case if you are staying away from your parents in another city, this is how you can ensure their wellbeing:
- The most important thing you can do to keep our elderly parents secure and happy during this crisis is to call them frequently either through regular phone calls or video calls and assure them that they are connected with you.
- Get their medicines, groceries and other essentials delivered at home by ordering it online.
- Schedule their regular medical check-up and fix an appointment with the doctors via telecommunication or online medical consultations.
- Keep in touch with the local health care services and have their contact numbers in case of any emergency.
How To Handle Emergency?
If you have elderly parents at home, you need to be ready always to face all kinds of emergencies.
- Keep their medicines handy, at all times. In the case of diabetics or heart patients, it is advisable to keep blood sugar and blood pressure monitors at hand to check the vitals immediately.
- In case, if you find blood sugar going down and if the patient is going into a hypoglycemic mode, give chocolate, sugar or honey as per the doctor’s advice. High blood sugars and blood pressure are also quite unpleasant situations, in such cases, dial the doctor immediately to change the dosage or to tweak the medicine.
- Keep the emergency contact numbers ready. Note down the contact numbers of ambulances, doctors to reach out without any delay.
- Pharmacies are under essential services. Do not panic but stock medicines at least for the next few weeks.
- You can also dial helpline numbers provided by the authorities.
Follow These Precautionary Measures To Support The Elderly Person, You Are Looking After At Home:
- Hearing continuously about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Make sure the elderly person takes a break from reading, watching or listening to news stories and social media.
- Make time to unwind yourself. Do some activities and spend more time with family especially if you have someone elderly to keep them happy and occupied.
- Make sure they are eating healthy, well-balanced food and include more vitamin C rich foods in their diet to strengthen their immunity as much as possible.
- Ensure they get adequate hydration so as to refrain from getting a dry throat.
- Try to imbibe some basic exercises in their daily routine to keep them fit and active.
- Connect with them to understand their concerns and emotions and try to support as much as possible.