hands in rubber gloves donning face mask

Steps You Can Take Now To Help Safeguard Your Loved One’s Health During An Outbreak

If you have a loved one in hospice or home care in Santa Clara and elsewhere, you are understandably concerned about how to keep them safe in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic. With the President just declaring a National Emergency, it’s more important than ever to talk about what steps we can take to keep our sick and elderly loved ones safe in their homes. It stands to reason that home-bound seniors are safest right where they are, which means the burden of practicing caution and hygiene should fall to caregivers and visitors who rotate in and out of the home. And because many home-bound seniors can’t leave their home due to mobility issues or illness, visitors pose the biggest threat to their health.

Caregivers must follow strict protocol during times like these, from limiting visitation to practicing good hand washing techniques. Here are some ways you can lower seniors’ risk for contracting COVID-19, the flu, or any other illness for that matter.

Yes, it’s true that coronavirus can infect anyone, but older adults (age 60 and up) are at the most risk of getting seriously sick from it because their immune system weakens with age, says CNN. Those over the age of 80 are at an even higher risk.

Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

Here are some steps you as a caregiver, and seniors who are at home, can do to ensure the lowest possible risk during an outbreak.

  • Stock up on all the basics: toothpaste, detergent, toilet paper, tissues, etc. Order online or from grocery delivery services if store shelves are bare.
  • Cancel all non-essential doctor appointments, whether it’s a standard check-up or a follow-up appointment for a stable chronic condition or elective procedure. Remember: if it can wait, it should.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and thoroughly. Check out this quick tutorial on how to properly wash your hands. Hint: you’ve been doing it wrong!
  • Place hand sanitizer on bedside tables or in the living room when you can’t readily get to a sink. Keep hand sanitizer positioned near the front door so all visitors, including caregivers, can pump some onto their hands before entering.
  • Make meals ahead of time and freeze them.
  • Encourage regular exercise and a healthy diet, just like always.
  • Check to make sure you are up to date on all prescription medications. Pick up any outstanding prescriptions, or have a caregiver do it for you. In many cases, you aren’t able to stockpile prescriptions ahead of time, but you can mail order them if you have to.
  • For seniors that enjoy getting out of the house occasionally, put an end to all unnecessary visits to public places where crowds may gather or poorly-ventilated buildings increase risk of transmission. This includes places of worship, retail stores, and malls, senior center programs, etc.
  • Family caregivers should avoid bringing children and pets to visit seniors.
  • Limit visits of all kinds to only the most essential.

Families: Think Ahead

Family, friends, and neighbors of older adults should ask themselves some questions in regards to caring for their senior loved ones isolated at home.

  • If a family member is sick, don’t visit in person. Call on the phone or video chat instead.
  • Ask yourself: Does my mother, father, sibling, etc. have what they need to spend an extended period of time inside? If no, help them prepare and gather supplies.
  • If their senior home care services provider calls in sick, is there someone who can step in to take care of the senior? Get a plan in place now to make sure they get care when and if they need it.
  • If a younger, healthy family member has come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, it’s in everyone’s best interests for them to self-isolate and avoid visiting older, more susceptible family members.
  • Plan fun activities for your senior loved one that doesn’t involve going out to public places. Take a walk, look through photo albums and reminisce, do some scrapbooking or arts and crafts, engage in memory activities, cook or bake together, or watch a movie.

We know it takes diligence, patience, and forethought to keep everyone safe, including seniors, during this pandemic. We can help, as the caregivers here at Pathways Home Health and Hospice take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and the seniors they are in charge of. Stay abreast of all changes regarding the virus, practice good basic hygiene techniques, and come to us with any questions!

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

To learn more about how you can keep the senior in your life from contracting COVID-19, please contact us at 888-978-1306. We promise to do all we can to keep your loved one safe and happy at all times, but especially during pandemics such as coronavirus.