In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical authorities have considered senior citizens to be at higher risk of severe illnesses. A recent study shows that 70% of older adults aged 60 and above were affected by COVID-19, while 54% reported feeling stressed and anxious about the situation. However, with communities beginning to open, what does it mean for older adults? Here are some tips to bear in mind and keep you safe as a senior citizen.
1. Grocery assistance
Since the ease of lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country, grocery shops and supermarkets have been flooded with people. Unfortunately, with the crowd comes the increased risk of virus infection, especially for older adults who are most vulnerable. Instead of making the trip to the grocery yourself, you can receive assistance from young adults. Ensure that they are responsible and adhere to the Coronavirus precautionary requirements, which includes wearing face masks, hand sanitising as well as observing social distancing while shopping. Luckily, some grocers offer special hours for seniors, and pregnant women considered high risks.
2. Ensure regular communication
According to statistics, 28% of persons aged 65 and above are living alone. Although living alone does necessarily imply being alone, it has become a significant factor during the pandemic. Seniors who may have had a vibrant social life with family and friends before the pandemic have been compelled to stay on their own. However, technology has offered several ways to keep in touch while observing social distancing. Schedule routine phone and video conversations and emails to ensure older adults can communicate with someone when the need arises. Communication is particularly essential for their mental wellbeing.
3. Expand the bubble with care
With lockdown restrictions gradually being eased, it has become tempting to invite family and friends over for a visit. However, great care should be taken with who you invite into your safe “bubble”. It is essential to consider those you have been in contact with in recent weeks and whether they have been observing COVID-19 safety directives. It will be helpful to reassess the chances of COVID-19 exposure before every meeting to help minimise the risk of infection in your home.
4. Maintain mental health care
While some seniors may find it challenging to cope with an extended sense of loneliness during the pandemic, others may be experiencing some anxiety over COVID-19’s many uncertainties. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of mental illness such as depression and anxiety, you should reach out to healthcare providers as soon as possible. As the country takes its paths towards recovering from the pandemic, you and your caregivers must continue to evaluate the altering conditions and its accompanying risk factors to decide which activities are safest.
Although you may have survived many life-changing events as an older person, this is a period where everyone could count on another. You are likely to feel most isolated and lonely during this life-altering period. Regularly checking up and keeping in touch with those who may require assistance would help keep you safe and minimise the risk of any illnesses.