Posted on Jun 3, 2020 in Senior Health
Since social distancing measures were introduced to help manage the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all been forced to adapt to a new normal.
According to the World Health Organization, there are two main groups most at risk of contracting coronavirus: seniors and anyone with pre-existing health conditions.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), older people are most at risk of dying from COVID 19 as they have weaker immune systems. 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the US have been adults aged 65 and older. Although individuals under 65 or those with healthy immune systems are still at risk, they are less likely than seniors with weak immune systems to contract the virus.
So, we need to keep our elderly loved ones safe from contracting the virus at all costs given their heightened risk profile.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can hit an elderly person particularly hard. The virus affects people in different ways and most people will develop only mild to moderate symptoms.
According to the WHO, common symptoms include:
It is understood that COVID-19 kills by entering the lungs and triggering an immune response. Put crudely, the immune system pumps out more white blood cells which in turn stimulates pus-production in the lungs. The lungs drown in this excess pus and the person dies of suffocation.
Research has shown that 50% of people who contract the virus show no symptoms at all. These people could unwittingly spread the virus to others, some of whom will be elderly people more likely to experience an adverse reaction to the virus.
This means that we could all potentially be spreading the virus without even knowing it. If we come into contact with an elderly person and pass on the virus, they could become gravely ill.
Some parts of the world are still on lock down to prevent a global healthcare crisis. The idea behind social distancing measures is to stop the virus from spreading too soon and potentially overwhelming hospitals. And so we find ourselves sacrificing other important elements of our livelihoods in order to contain the pandemic.
While we hate to see our senior loved ones isolated and overcome with boredom, at least we know they are safe and protected from the virus.
As activities and classes are canceled for seniors living in assisted living communities and others are stuck in their homes, we all know it’s hard for our loved ones to cope with the extreme isolation they’re being subjected to. But, these measures are there to protect them, so we can enjoy their company when this all settles down.
It’s common for seniors to feel isolated whether there’s a pandemic or not. Unfortunately, family members are often so busy with their lives that there’s not enough time to tend to their elderly loved ones as much as they would like.
Right now, though, social services and family members are extra vigilant about the mental health of their senior loved ones who are particularly isolated in these unprecedented times. Although unable to be with their elderly family members physically, there’s now more time to write letters and enjoy phone calls or video chats.
Some older people feel they are unable to learn to use new technology and they give up. Given the current circumstances, they don’t have much choice if they want to be able to communicate using teleconferencing software. The positive knock-on effects of this will be enormous. It will build their confidence and reinforce that using tech really isn’t so hard after all.
Learning new skills can also give seniors a bit more independence. If they have the confidence to utilize technology without any assistance, it means they can call up their family, friends, and precious grandchildren any time they like.
As everyone is urged to “stay home and flatten the curve”, it means that there are fewer road traffic accidents, fewer DIY incidents, and a huge reduction in emergency room cases to allow for a potential influx of people into hospitals and intensive care units.
Social distancing measures have also been extended to routine hospital appointments to mitigate the potential spread of the virus. As a result, hospitals are currently running under capacity.
Hopefully, this will be all over in no time, and life can continue as before. That said, it’s vital we look after our seniors so we can hold them and tell them we love them once more. Social distancing should continue for now as the world starts to open up.
If you need any assistance or advice during these challenging times, get in touch with our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living and we’ll be happy to help out.