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Keeping Seniors Safe During the Coronavirus Crisis | Generations Home Care

Over the last seven days, the coronavirus has turned all our lives upside down. Where once we could move freely without concern, the hidden virus now lurks on every surface and in every social interaction. To stem the disease, state governments around the country have issued closure orders for certain types of businesses and asked citizens to stay indoors for all but essential tasks. Today, many Americans are hunkered down in their homes, waiting for the danger to pass.

The coronavirus threat is especially dangerous for seniors. After examining hospital data from China — where the virus originated — researchers found that the case fatality rate for people in their 70’s was 8%. For people in their 80’s the fatality rate rose to nearly 15%. With those sobering statistics in mind, it’s imperative we do whatever possible to protect our senior loved ones from becoming infected.

Staying Healthy During the Coronavirus Crisis

While there is yet no cure for coronavirus, there are concrete steps everyone can take to stay healthy during this outbreak. Here’s how to start:

Wash Your Hands

The most important thing seniors can do to avoid becoming infected with the coronavirus is to wash their hands. While that may sound simple, most people don’t wash their hands thoroughly enough. The CDC recommends using soap and warm water, then scrubbing your hands and underneath the fingernails for at least 20 seconds. The CDC also suggests washing your hands frequently and always during these activities:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
  • After handling pet food or pet treats.
  • After touching garbage.

Avoid Close Contact with Other People

It appears that the coronavirus is highly contagious and frequently transmitted from person to person. That means the best way for seniors to prevent an infection is to avoid congregating with large groups of people. Some states have acted proactively to limit crowds, by closing schools, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. However, seniors should also stop socializing with friends and family in large groups. Whenever possible, seniors should also avoid doing their own grocery shopping, as this might expose them to the virus. As a rule of thumb, the CDC recommends that people stay at least six feet away from each other to prevent the spread of the disease.

Sanitize Home Surfaces

New research shows that coronavirus can live for days on some surfaces. That’s why it’s important to disinfect your home regularly. However, there’s a difference between cleaning your home and disinfecting your home. Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface. Disinfecting is about killing pathogens. Use an over-the-counter disinfectant in high-traffic areas, including faucet handles, doorknobs, stair rails, and countertops. But don’t stop there. It’s also vital to clean objects you use every day, like television remote controls, cell phones, tablets, and computer keyboards. You should clean and disinfect your home every 24 hours if someone has entered or exited your home.

Supporting Seniors During the Coronavirus Crisis

Many seniors may be feeling anxious during these uncertain times. However, there are many ways younger people can help:

  • Offer to Pick Up Groceries: Unfortunately, something as simple as grocery shopping can be a high-risk activity for many seniors. By offering to do their grocery shopping for them, you’ll be protecting your senior loved one while providing a valuable service.
  • Help them Clean their Home: Because of limited mobility, many seniors struggle to keep with ordinary chores like housekeeping, which becomes very important during an epidemic. If you’re healthy, consider helping a senior loved one clean and disinfect their home. By living in a cleaner environment, seniors will be happier and healthier.
  • Check-in Regularly: Many seniors may feel isolated during this period, especially if they live alone. Isolation often leads to depression, which can exacerbate underlying medical conditions. A simple phone call could mean the world to an isolated and vulnerable senior.

As we navigate the uncertain waters ahead, it’s vital we treat each other with care and empathy — especially those that are most vulnerable. Generations Home Care will continue serving seniors throughout Arizona as this crisis plays out. If you have questions about how we can help a senior in your life, contact us today.

About Generations Home Care

Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.

Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

Our Specialty Services Include:

  • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
  • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
  • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
  • Veteran’s connection to care program.
  • Live-in services and couples care.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

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About the author - Josh Friesen

Think of Seniors on the International Day of Happiness Seniors Should Stay Active, Even During the Pandemic