July-20 Caring for senior citizens during corona

Special care for senior citizens in times of COVID-19


The elderly are more vulnerable to COVID-19 as they may have chronic conditions like blood pressure and diabetes. Also, their aging immune system makes it harder to fight off disease, infection and viruses. Recovery is usually slower and more complicated. Therefore, it is time for their children to become the caregivers. But parenting the elderly requires a different approach, attitude and action than parenting kids.


Grahak Sathi brings a few tips to help you deal with the health of the elderly in these crucial times.


Talk to them

Ageing people are used to following a standard routine and any deviation, even minor, may not go down well with them. However, it is crucial for them to understand the importance of abstaining from going out and maintaining social distancing. Discuss the situation around the world, read the newspaper with them and talk to them about the necessary steps to be taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Always try to have a positive attitude around elderly people. They may get worried with all the disturbing news coming in. Calm them down.


Set examples for following hygiene

Show them why washing hands regularly and thoroughly is necessary. Let them see you do this, so that they also follow and make it a habit. You may make it a joint task for your kids and their grandparents to ensure everyone cleans their hands properly.


Social distancing but not social isolation

While the elders are unable to go out for their daily walk in the park or visit to the temple, they may start to feel lonely. Get them to connect with relatives and friends over video calls. Make time from your schedule to spend a few minutes with them daily.


Keep them engaged

Encourage them to participate in house work in whichever way they want to without straining themselves. They may water the plants, supervise the washing machine or help in cutting vegetables. Introduce them to the new show that is being aired on streaming platforms, or let them relive their older days by watching reruns of popular shows on TV.


Ensure proper rest

Lockdown and quarantine have changed the schedule of the house. But try not to disturb the sleep cycle of elders because of this. It is important for their health that they continue to follow their routine and sleep pattern.



What should I do if I have Comorbidities?

  • First of all, don’t panic. Take all necessary precautions and maintain personal hygiene.
  • Make sure you have enough medicine in stock for your diabetes, high blood pressure and other health conditions.
  • Continue your medications and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your doctor.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or with sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces.
  • Stay at home and limit contact with other people as much as you can.
  • Avoid crowds and anyone who looks sick.
  • Always wear a face mask if you have to go out.




Encourage some exercise

They may not be able to go out for their walks, but encourage them to walk around in the house at regular intervals. They can do yoga and meditation to stay active.


Monitor their health

Monitor them carefully/diligently in these times. Their blood pressure, diabetes should be constantly under your scrutiny. A pulse oxymeter to monitor the oxygen levels and thermal scanner to check temperature daily is very useful as it gives early warning of infection.


Postpone non-emergency visit to the doctor

Senior citizens may consider delaying their yearly medical check-up till the time it is safe for them to travel out. They should ensure to check their list of prescription medicines and stock them up. They can talk to their doctor on phone for any instructions to be taken.


Emergency numbers should be handy

It is important to have the emergency contact details of the nearest hospital, ambulance service and neighbours, easily accessible.

Ministry of Home Affairs Guidelines

Guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on 30 May 2020 mentions that “persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential and health purposes.”


This is because elderly people are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to their decreased immunity and body reserves, as well as multiple associated comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Also, the course of this disease tends to be more severe in case of the elderly, resulting in higher mortality.


Sources: https://www.stylist.co.uk/, https://www.unicef.org/, https://www.acko.com/, https://www.webmd.com/

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