Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | elderly | vulnerable | pandemic | nursinghome

Tips on Protecting Our Elderly

a door is opened to advise a visitor he cannot get into a nursing home
A sign on the door of a nursing home and rehabilitation center in New Mexico.   (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

By    |   Sunday, 15 March 2020 12:14 PM

Our older citizens are particularly vulnerable to serious complications from the coronavirus pandemic, so The New York Times outlined some tips on protecting those over 60, and particularly over 80 years old.

It is a deadly reality for the elderly.

China's data shows over 15% of coronavirus patients over 80 die, while those with the coronavirus under 50 have a death rate well below 1% – an estimate shared by President Donald Trump but derided as delusional by his political opponents and media critics.

We have to take serious precautions to protect our elderly and most vulnerable with underlying health conditions amid the pandemic.

"These conditions can limit underlying reserve and lead to worse outcomes when older people become severely ill, which taxes all organ systems," infectious diseases specialist Dr. Annie Luetkemeyer of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital told the Times.

"For example, diabetes can make it harder to fight infection, and underlying heart or lung disease may make it more difficult for those organs to keep up with demands created by a serious Covid-19 infection."

Here are some tips, according to the Times:

1. Follow the advice of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Distance yourself at around 6 feet from others – especially if infected or having come in contact with those infected.
  • Clean and disinfect your surroundings.
  • Avoid public gatherings and large crowds.
  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Avoid nonessential travel.
  • Stock up on medicines for a three-month supply.

2. Avoid the doctor, if you can.

Cancel nonessential doctor's visits to remain away from areas of potential community spread.

There are some caveats to this, including follow up appointments for dementia, Parkinson's disease, falls, or heart problems, according to the report.

3. Beware of social isolation.

Loneliness can be problematic, too. When you need to speak to someone, try to telecommute via Skype or FaceTime.

4. Talk to home health aides.

Elderly who get visits from home health aides are potentially being exposed in myriad ways, as they have stopped many other places. So, be sure whoever is coming to see our elderly is practicing pandemic guidelines above.

"If you're by yourself, you may be in a very vulnerable position because you're dependent upon that person," Dr. David Nace told the Times. "It can feel intimidating. But hopefully there's a good enough relationship that you can open the conversation."

5. Beware of nursing homes.

The U.S. government has advised a ban on visits of nonessential personnel to U.S. nursing homes. You might consider temporarily taking on care for your loved ones in your own home.

"I actually think that's not unreasonable, if it's in your community, and you have the ability to care safely for that person in your house," Dr. Nace told the Times.

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Our older citizens are particularly vulnerable to serious complications from the coronavirus pandemic, so The New York Times outlined some tips on protecting those over 60, and particularly over 80 years old.It is a deadly reality for the elderly.China's data shows over 15%...
elderly, vulnerable, pandemic, nursinghome
Sunday, 15 March 2020 12:14 PM
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