Amidst this global crisis, it’s been of critical importance that we pay special attention to the health and wellbeing of the senior citizens that we love the most. Hence, we must talk about senior safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the data posted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and every news channel out there, the elderly are directly endangered. You could even say that the main efforts of self-isolation, quarantine and national or citywide lockdowns are to prevent it from spreading to our aging members. The risk this virus poses to them, due to compromised immune systems and underlying medical conditions, makes it a sensible time to seek a live-in caregiver.
As hospitals become flooded with patients, many who are sick with the deadly novel coronavirus, we need to take every precaution we can to reduce transmission. Anyone with even mild symptoms should safely consult with a health care professional. The old and the young are similarly advised to stay home, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, wash hands regularly, and avoid touching of the face.
1. Need to refill a prescription? Call ahead!
The Canadian Pharmacists Association is recommending calling ahead so you can answer precautionary questions before going to the pharmacy and minimize in-store wait times. Avoid going during the busy hours or make use of the ‘seniors-hour’ courtesy shopping times available in some grocery stores. An even better option is to order from a pharmacy that offers home delivery or let a healthy family member pick-up the medications.
2. Medical appointments? Consider virtual or over-the-phone consultations.
The government advises doctors to begin offering virtual appointments online through video streaming applications or telephone consultations instead of in-person. If it cannot be helped, ask for an appointment time that is known to be less busy, be mindful of the 2-meter social distancing recommendations and consider wearing a medical face mask in waiting rooms.
3. Groceries? Look for stores that offer home deliveries.
At this time of crisis, supermarkets and grocery stores have become likely hot spots for virus transmission. Narrow aisles and large crowds of tense shoppers can make the experience unpleasant. Because of some concerns on senior safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, some grocery stores have implemented ‘seniors-hour’ which is a courtesy shopping time (usually the first hour of the day) for elderly and disabled customers to have priority access. Luckily, over the past few years, many of the major supermarkets have established excellent online ordering systems with options for home delivery or pick up. Check out at home delivery options from Superstore, Save-On-Foods, Walmart, Instacart, Costco!
4. Need to exercise? Your backyard and front lawn are enough.
In order to be in the healthiest position possible to fight any virus, it’s important to get active and avoid being sedentary. Seniors should be exercising daily and as much as their bodies will allow them. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed usual routines and going to the gyms or parks is not advisable, particularly to seniors. That’s where simple is better! They may opt to walk around inside the house, in the backyard, or walks to explore the neighbourhood. Even doing some light exercises and easy household chores will help to keep the body fit at home.
5. Avoid unnecessary babysitting.
Typically, grandparents who have the available time will provide childcare for their grandchildren while the parents work. Since children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus and possibly less cautious with safety measures, it’s better to find alternative options for child minding.
6. Use the latest technology to stay connected with loved ones!
Family visitors and well-wishers can still reach out and feel connected through the awesomeness of the internet! Even though we’re limited in our ability to be together in person, technology has never been more prepared to facilitate communication! From the comfort — and safety – of their own homes, seniors can use online applications like Zoom, Skype, or Facetime to have video and voice calls around the planet. This will help to ease the lack of stimulation caused by social distancing and isolation and will assure everyone of a happy family reunion in the near future.
Taking care of your senior loved one and ensuring their safety during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic is not as easy as we think it is. But we can do our best to be patient and positive. This too shall pass! In the meantime, always be mindful of senior safety during COVID-19 pandemic and take all precautions!