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Protecting the Elderly During COVID-19



COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) is taking its toll especially in the elderly population who seem to be most vulnerable to the disease. Those who are primary caregivers for elderly parents or grandparents now have the added responsibility of ensuring their loved one is protected from the disease.

“Many older Americans are living at home with adult children or grandchild as their primary caregivers. As with the flu, colds and other viruses there are things we can do to help prevent or mitigate the spread of illness,” said Stacy Carter, Pathways Senior Care Advisors.

TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS:
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (one round of the ABC song) throughout the day. If you can’t wash your hands use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
• Wash door knobs especially those on doors going in and out of the house and to and from the bathroom. The virus can survive on metal surfaces for up to 12 hours.
• Change your clothes and consider showering when you’ve come home from work, school or prolonged activities outside the home. COVID-19 can live on fabric for 6-12 hours but washing with laundry detergent kills it.
• Limit or eliminate visitors.
• Pay attention to your own health by eating well, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep. This includes staying hydrated. By maintaining your own health, you reduce the likelihood of coming down with the virus yourself.
• At the first signs of illness, in yourself or your loved ones, visit your doctor right away.

“Mental health issues are also a concern during this period of uncertainty. We’re all dealing with drastic changes to our normal way of life and fear of what’s to come. It’s normal to feel stressed but it’s important to address it so it doesn’t overwhelm you,” said, Carter.

MENTAL HEALTH TIPS FOR THE FAMILY:
• Continue your daily routine and activities as much as possible.
• Take a break from TV news and social media. You can get over exposed to information and feel helpless, confused and stressed.
• If the weather permits, take a break outside. Fresh air and change of scene can boost your mood.
• Don’t isolate yourself too much. Stay in touch with friends and family through phone or free video conferencing services such as Zoom, Face Time or Google Hang Out. It’s important to know you’re not alone and have a support network.

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