This article is written by Dr. Shahnawaz Mushtaq, Clinical Psychologist, PhD (AMU)
Coronavirus has been front page news for a while and has spread all over the world. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. In general, human coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is the name for a new virus that’s been spreading across the globe since late December 2019. Similar to seasonal flu, COVID-19 is passed between people through coughing, sneezing, or close contact like touching or shaking hands. It can also be transmitted by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without washing hands.
Seniors are at higher risk of complications and death. Patients with COVID-19 have symptoms that are similar to other respiratory illnesses like colds or flu. Common symptoms include mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that usually begin two to 14 days after exposure. Less commonly, sore throat and diarrhoea have been reported in some patients.
Many patients with severe complications from the virus develop pneumonia in both lungs. Generally, with a respiratory illness like seasonal flu, older adults are at higher risk of infection and developing complications like pneumonia. Coronavirus COVID-19, a respiratory illness, seems to be following the same pattern. Seniors are more vulnerable because their immune systems are weaker due to age and often made worse by frailty or chronic illnesses like diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart disease. This reduces the body’s ability to cope and recovery can be prolonged.
It is important to know the facts and follow recommended prevention tips to protect yourself, your older adult, and those around you.
Tip 1 – Stay at home to slow the spread of infection
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease. You must stay at home, engage in social distancing and avoid crowds as much as possible. If you’re still unsure of your surroundings or think you’re at high risk and wish to be under monitoring, you can sign up at any senior care centre in India or even opt for senior citizen home care services.
Tip 2 – Ensure you have enough stock of groceries and medicines
Contact your healthcare provider to ask about necessary medications to keep at hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. Have enough household items and groceries so that you are prepared to stay at home for a period of time. Many health clinics also provide senior citizen care at home which are ideal for elders who wish to stay home but require assistance at times.
Tip 3 – Take everyday precautions
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.
Tip 4 – Engage in Positive Activities
To stay positive and happy, engage the time in playing games like Ludo, Chess, Carrom, and so on. Listen to spiritual hymns and discourses to calm yourself. Watch your favourite TV shows, nowadays there are reruns of popular serials, you can also catch up on old classic movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. Do light exercises at home like deep breathing, chair yoga and meditation.
Tip 5 – What to do if you get sick
Stay home and call your doctor and let them know about your symptoms, lot of doctors will provide telemedicine review. Know when to get emergency help. Get emergency services for seniors in Delhi if you feel you’re not keeping well or develop any symptoms. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home.
Samvedna Senior Care provides eldercare services for the physical, emotional and mental health wellbeing of elderly. During this period of COVID-19, we are helping seniors with online counselling, telemedicine review, doctor on call and logistic support.