Coronavirus has presented the world with substantial challenges. On a health front, our concern spans all demographics but mainly the senior population. It’s widely identified that Covid-19, like other seasonal illnesses, can be fatal for those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. The Coronavirus does not currently have a cure and can be challenging for some to recover from.

When dealing with the elderly, it is quite important to know how to protect yourself, so that you can also protect them. Here are 5 things you can do to help the elderly during this difficult time.

Be Knowledgeable

Being informed and aware of how the virus spreads is crucial. With a worldwide pandemic taking place, the internet is surely flooded with information – some are credible and some aren’t. WHO and CDC are great resources to get the proper, updated information needed, as well as following your city/state guidelines on best practices to stay safe. Knowing how to identify symptoms, how the virus spreads and how to handle an emergency, should all be information you understand; particularly in dealing with the elderly as they are at high risks at this moment. Let’s get specific in our next points.

Sanitize

Follow proper sanitation guides to eliminate contamination. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and/or using hand sanitizer throughout your day can help avoid the spread of the virus. Using disinfectant wipes to clean all surfaces that are touched often, like door handles, cell phones and other high traffic surfaces. Don’t touch your face. It’s said changing your clothes when you arrive at a senior’s home can be a fantastic measure to protect them, as your clothes can contain the virus for up to 12 hours. Coughing and sneezing should always be into a tissue or one’s sleeve. Excessive coughing, fever and other worrisome symptoms should be taken seriously. In dealing with the elderly, being sick means you should not be in their proximity, neither in a family nor caregiver setting.

Make Safe Choices

It’s all about making safe choices at this time. It’s tempting to try to live as though business is as usual. But unfortunately, the situation is just too risky to take that chance, especially if you’re in direct contact with the elderly. Practicing social distancing by keeping a minimum of 1 meter distance between yourself and others has been suggested. Avoiding public places with a number of people is very important as well, ie. to decipher whether appointments, visits to the bank and other public domains are a necessary visit.  Hospital visits should be avoided unless it’s an emergency. Across Canada gatherings should be limited, however, the ideal and most practical situation is to limit yourself from everyone in case you carry the virus with no symptoms, or in the case that the person next to you does. And with regards to seniors, individuals of over 70 years old are being asked to stay at home.

The Upsides of Isolation

Isolation is a tricky thing in this day and age. Not only is it difficult for the general population to halt their normal, daily activities, but seniors may feel the weight of solitude as well. Although on a regular basis, seniors may run less errands than the rest of us and also might spend more time in their homes, there is extra emphasis put on the dangers surrounding their health. It can be a scary reality for seniors, family members and caregivers.

Finding the upside to isolation is very important at this moment. How do you keep the spirits and morale high under quarantine? Let’s start with what your aging loved one likes. Family members and caregivers can turn on their elder’s favourite music or comedy. They could play a board game, bake some cupcakes or work on a craft project. Good conversation, good food and good company, get people of all demographics through the hardest of times. This is an excellent way to combat isolation while in quarantine.

 

Staying Active 

Although we are going through a pandemic and maintaining health is of top priority, one of the best things for your body to relieve stress and keep healthy, is to be active. For the general population, jogging or taking a brisk walk, while honouring the social distancing practice can be therapeutic. Fresh air is great for the spirit. For the seniors who are unable to exercise at this level, there are many at-home online routines to assist muscle strengthening and cardio activity. Staying active is good for the mind as well. A healthy mind, body and spirit will lead us through this challenging time.

Together we should remain strong, hopefully and courageous.We should all take the necessary action to protect ourselves and the elderly in Montreal and around the world. For more insight on protecting the elderly from the Coronavirus, here are some additional thoughts.