The coronavirus is lethal to anyone who catches it. The more aging population is susceptible to catching the virus, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or cancer. Ever since the lockdown started, elders who live independently find it challenging to isolate themselves completely. Older people require social interaction, and they rely on social connections now more than ever.
Most of us live alone and are extremely worried about our parents. They might feel anxious due to the increasing cases, financial constraints, or just being confined to their rooms. They could also go undiagnosed and might even suffer mild depression. In these challenging times, it is our responsibility that we look after the older population now more than ever.
Ensure you are well first
Keep yourself well. You might be going out for your work or your children to run some errands; you must keep yourself well. While you might not get affected, you could act as carriers and affect the older people in your house. As a caretaker, you have to take all the necessary precautions to avoid being infected by the virus. You are responsible for contracting and transmitting the virus.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or more. Use sanitizers, soaps whenever required. After preparing food, using the bathroom, or cleaning the vegetables, you must wash your hands. Our hands are at prime risk of contracting and transmitting the virus.
- Avoid crowds, gathering. These are the major hotspots of the virus’s transfer, so make sure you avoid them at all costs. If it is necessary to step out, wear face masks, gloves, and sanitize before and after going out.
- If you sneeze, make sure you cover your mouth with a tissue or use your elbow.
- Keep your hands away from your face. We touch our hands at least 52 times a day, so to avoid transmitting the virus, do not touch your face.
- Disinfect your surface regularly using fogger machines. Clean your bathroom, kitchen surfaces, your furniture frequently.
Practice social distancing, not social isolation
One meaningful way to lower your chances of transmitting and contracting the virus is by limiting in-person visits. This might be a little tough for the older generation because they enjoy social interaction and cherish the time spent with family and friends.
Social distancing doesn’t mean isolating them; instead, be creative and spending time with them or include them in your daily chores. Talk to them about your day and how the new hobbies you might have picked during the lockdown.
Use technology to stay connected.
When you can’t be there in person, use technology to stay connected. Applications like Skype, WhatsApp, or Zoom allow you to be connected and make you feel together even when you are a thousand miles apart.
- Be patient and teach them how to schedule a video call.
- Connect them to their friends
- Encourage friends and family to write notes and letters to their loved ones.
- Schedule a weekly meeting with them
Involve Older People
We might have lost the connection with our parents due to taxing work hours or other commitments, now is the perfect time to gel and restore the relationship. Involve the elders in your daily life activities, take time to talk to them, play with them. These little acts would provide them immense joy and also distract from the pandemic. Ask them to narrate stories from their childhood or create memorabilia together.
Help older people if needed.
The pandemic has forced us to stay indoors, and a majority of older populations live alone. Talk to them and help if they need groceries or medicines. Check on them regularly and, if infected, immediately take necessary actions. Ask senior help centers and nursing homes to help them: support food programs and food banks.
Postpone unnecessary medical visits
- Help them set communication with their doctors and medical staff. Try and take the tele-medication of the doctor to provide you with the same.
- Avoid face-to-face contact. Use technology to contact your doctors in case of a medical diagnosis instead of face-to-face communication.
Set-up emergency contacts
- Find one person who they can rely on in case you live far away.
- Ask them to check frequently on your parents.
- Help them put all emergency numbers on the speed dial.
- Add the COVID-19 helpline numbers on their devices in case of any emergency.
In these challenging times, we must always ensure our safety as well as our elders. Loneliness and social confinement can lead them to depression, chronic diseases, so make sure you take good care of them and always stay connected. Comment below and let us know how you are coping with these challenging times?