Protect At-Risk Loved Ones from the Coronavirus - PIH Health

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Published on March 30, 2020

Protecting at risk seniors from coronavirus (COVID-19)Protect Your At-Risk Loved Ones from the Coronavirus

Protecting at risk seniors from coronavirus (COVID-19)The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses health risks for everyone. However, government and health officials have made it clear that older adults and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from the coronavirus. To help slow the spread the COVID-19 illness, Californians have all been asked to follow the Stay at Home order, which includes senior citizens and others higher at risk of contracting COVID-19.

If you have loved ones who are at greater risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19, there are many things you can do to help protect them.

Avoid close contact or stay at home to limit exposure.

In addition to following the general guidelines on regularly washing hands, avoiding crowds, covering coughs and sneezes, and practicing social distancing, it is very important to limit any close contact with your at-risk loved ones.  Do not visit your family member if you have any signs or symptoms of illness.

If your loved one is in a nursing home or other healthcare facility, check with the facility regarding their current rules for visitors. If visitation is not allowed, ask the facility how you can have contact with your family member or receive updates whether via telephone calls, video chats or even email.

Take extra precautions and plan ahead for at-risk loved ones with caregivers.

If you are living with and or caring for your at-risk loved one, take extra precautions not to spread germs by cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces and shared areas, frequently washing hands, keeping at least 6 feet distance, and wearing clean clothes. Have a backup plan should you or another caregiver get sick. Communicate this care plan among family members. If your loved one has an upcoming doctor’s appointment, call their physician and check to see if the appointment can be rescheduled if your loved one is feeling well and currently does not have any concerns. If things can be handled through phone conversation or through telehealth, it will be best for the patient and also for the healthcare worker.

Make sure your loved one has adequate supplies.

Check that your at-risk loved one has enough supplies, such as food and medication, in the house that can last for at least two weeks, or maybe more. You can help to assist them in getting their medications delivered by mail, as well as utilizing grocery or meal delivery services.

Maintain social connections with your loved ones.

Just because you can’t visit your loved ones doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. Staying connected with your loved one during this time is important to give them comfort and company. Making telephone calls more frequently with your loved ones, video conferencing, and sharing of photographs through social media or through text message are great ways to stay in touch, and help your loved ones to not feel isolated or disconnected. There are also delivery services for things like flowers, just to say I’m thinking of you. Sending a nice letter or card through the mail is also a nice reminder to your loved ones that you are thinking of them.

Aside from all these things, but the best thing we can do is try to keep ourselves healthy and safe as well. This means following the guidelines set forth by our government and health officials, washing our hands, and staying home.

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The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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