Coronavirus and Elderly Parents
Caring for our beloved seniors challenges us during normal times. Add the coronavirus and elderly parents need our guidance and protection more than ever.
Of course, any contagious virus or medical issue creates special concern. Doctors warn caregivers about the flu. Even the common cold might lead to a severe illness in the elderly. COVID 19 adds a new dimension to our need to protect our elderly parents.
Coronavirus and elderly parents are not friends!
What steps can you take to keep your loved one safe?
- Great nutrition
- Avoid contact with possible carriers
- Consider video doctor appointments, when possible
- Consider a pet
The suggestions to avoid infection
1. Great nutrition builds the immune system.
Unfortunately, many elderly find eating enough nutrients difficult. Tastes change over time. Many seniors find even strong foods a bit bland. Ideally, provide favorite foods with a variety of nutrients. However, your doctor might offer suggestions for nutrient shakes or similar products to boost nutrition when needed.
Cleanliness remains a top priority in combatting any virus or disease. However, caring for the elderly often makes complete sanitation an ongoing task. Prioritize changing clothing, keeping bedding clean, and showering or bathing. In reality, most of us know that clean one moment does not ensure clean the next.
Ideally, a daily bath or shower provides some cleanliness. However, many caregivers don’t have the necessary help to bathe their elderly each day. Frequent washings and clothing changes offer some help.
The home areas also need frequent cleaning and sanitizing. However, be careful when using cleaners. Many elderly react to strong cleaner odors. Even spray disinfectants should be used with great care. Overuse might cause serious health issues.
Additionally, when using any products, use at the proper dilution rate. Remember that elderly are more susceptible to breathing problems from cleaners. If you must use a cleaner that your parent reacts to, consider moving her to an outside area. The fresh air is good for her, too!
3. Avoid contact with possible carriers
This applies to your elderly loved ones, but also to you and anyone coming in contact with them. And it presents some of the greatest problems.
Most of our elderly benefit from visits with others or even activities outside the home. During the active pandemic, doctors strongly recommend elderly stay-at-home. The only exceptions they allow include necessary doctor and hospital visits. And they stress necessary.
But safe visitors and caregivers are just as much a concern. If your son visits his friends, he should shower and change clothes when he comes home. Additionally, he should wear a mask when near Grandma.
While experts caution children and adults to wash frequently and avoid touching their face, the warning is even more imperative for those living with or visiting elderly.
While elderly might miss those weekly trips to the beauty salon or a favorite lunch out, corona dictates a change in habits. But that’s not just for the elderly. Even if your area is open, consider staying at home to avoid bringing the virus home.
5. Consider video doctor appointments, when possible
Most doctors try to protect their patients. Video medical appointments offer one way to stay safe. Not quite the same as in person, the video chat might be challenging for patients not accustomed to video chats. However, just like an in office appointment, you can sit with your Dad and help him understand the doctor.
6. Masks for Coronavirus and Elderly Parents
If members of your home have been around other people, consider having them use a mask when near your elderly parent. Why take unnecessary chances when the mask is easy to use and free to inexpensive.
However, you should not expect your elderly loved ones to wear the mask. In fact, he might have health problems from some masks as they inhibit some breathing. Of course, some provide better aireation than others.
Why not find a good mask for the elderly? It’s not needed. In fact, if your loved ones stay home and had no contact with possible carriers, they are about as safe as possible. Moreover, the mask’s primary purpose remains that of preventing germs from the mask wearer from infecting others. Since you have protected Granda, he is not a carrier!
One of the most difficult aspects of this virus is the separation factor. We people like a hug or a soft touch. In fact, studies prove the healing benefits, physical and emotional, of the human touch.
A careful caregiver can continue to provide those healing touches. But visitors might need to resist unless they are certain they are not carriers.
You are all at home more during this time. Make the most of your time together. In fact, try to make great memories for the entire family.
Of course, avoid shopping trips. But replace them with a walk outside. Everyone benefits from fresh air. And the change of scenery lifts the mood, too.
Yes, the virus created many changes in our lives. It can be scary, too. So why not turn the tables on it? Play games. Watch a favorite movie. Go through photos and share stories. Ask Grandpa about his younger life stories. You might find that coronavirus and elderly parent time becomes one of life’s most special.
9. Consider a pet
Pets provide incredible benefits for the elderly. In fact, even those with severe dementia respond positively to a pet. However, if a live pet is not an option, often a stuffed animal or even a robotic one fills the need.
The coronavirus and elderly parents might not mix well.
But with some careful planning and mixing things up a bit, you might find great happiness together.
One last point, be thankful that you are able to keep your elderly parents at home during this time!