By David Goldstein – Publisher of Chicago Senior Living and Housing For Seniors
The COVID-19 virus is continuing to spread at an alarming rate in the United States and much of the world, with several countries declaring national emergencies and imposing drastic measures to curb its spread. The measures are centered around social distancing, as governments look to reduce transmission rates in a bid to get a grip on the pandemic.
Although it is impossible to accurately calculate the mortality rate of the COVID-19 virus at this point, as there is no way of knowing how many total cases there actually are, it is abundantly clear that senior citizens are much more vulnerable to the virus than the average adult.
The reason behind this is seniors tend to have weaker immune systems, so they are at a higher risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 and other viruses.
Therefore, older adults should pay particular care to the pandemic and exercise caution to reduce their risk of infection as much as possible.
How Can Seniors Protect Themselves From Coronavirus?
In light of the increased risk of death to seniors from the COVID-19 virus, governments and health officials have released specialist guidance on what the elderly can do to stay safe and reduce their chances of contracting the deadly virus.
Some governments have urged the elderly to self-isolate for months, as they expect infection rates to peak and dip over this time. Specifically, the UK government is urging seniors over the age of 70 in particular to self-isolate and avoid any contact with other humans, even relatives, for three months.
If someone needs to visit, in an emergency, for example, they should put on a face mask before entering to reduce the risk of them spreading their germs and potential viruses.
It should be noted that although the advice was issued for over 70s in particular, seniors below that age are also vulnerable to the virus and should exercise as much caution as possible.
Self-isolation can be especially tricky in assisted living facilities, as there will invariably be some level of interaction with nurses and other members of staff. In such cases, contact should be kept to a minimum – by canceling planned trips and group activities, for example – and communal areas should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
In addition to social distancing measures, seniors and the wider population are encouraged to practice good hygiene to curb the virus’ spread.
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water while singing Happy Birthday twice is the best way to kill and wash away viruses. Still, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used as an alternative when this is not immediately available.
As an extra precaution, seniors should also limit touching their faces as much as possible unless they have just washed their hands, as the Coronavirus (and other viruses) can enter the body via the mouth, nostrils, and eyes.
What About Other Viruses?
Other, more common viruses are contracted in a similar fashion to COVID-19, so many of the measures mentioned above are also recommended, aside from the extreme ones (such as self-isolation.)
However, it is advisable to keep your distance from friends and family who are ill, as even the common flu can be a serious and potentially life-threatening infection in seniors.
Practicing good hygiene is one of the most effective ways of reducing your chances of contracting a virus, and it is especially important to wash your hands before eating thoroughly.
A Quick Summary
- The continued spread of the Coronavirus in much of Europe, the United States, and beyond has prompted many governments to impose a series of measures, including travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines.
- As part of their social distancing measures, some countries have ordered bars and restaurants to close their doors, while others are encouraging people to work from home and avoid “unnecessary contact” with others.
- Seniors should be particularly careful, given the higher mortality rates seen in the elderly.
- Older adults can reduce their chances of contracting the virus (and other viruses) by self-isolating and washing their hands thoroughly and regularly.
- Visit the CDC (the Center for Disease Control) for current information about COVID-19 as it relates to seniors.