Though COVID-19 affects everyone regardless of their age, older people are more susceptible to catching the virus. Older adults, 60 years and above, with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or lung disease, are more likely to get severely infected by COVID-19 than other age groups. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we take special care of them and make them feel comfortable and stress-free amidst the ongoing global pandemic.
What should a caretaker do?
As a caretaker, you should first pay attention to your health. If you are weak, you won’t be able to take good care of anybody else. Here are the basics that you should never miss out on:
- Washing hands for 20 seconds before providing care
- Avoiding crowds
- Keeping hands away from the face
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces
Some essential caretaking tips
Here are some important tips for you to keep older adults physically and mentally fit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Stay in touch: Always make sure that your beloved older adults are not feeling left out. Keep them in the loop and share your joys with them, along with taking their advice on important matters. Even if they are not living with you, stay in touch with them, FaceTime them, and stay engaged with them.
- Connect them to their interests: Don’t you get bored when your phone is not with you or your television is not working? Think about how lonely older people, who have nothing to do, would feel. So, keep them involved in what they love doing so that they are not overwhelmed by negative thoughts when alone. Come up with creative ideas to help them do what they find pleasure in. For example, if they like reading but have weak eyesight, then share some audiobooks with them, so they have something nice to do.
- Send weekly postcards: If your loved ones live alone, you should always let them know that you are mindful of them. You can send them weekly hand-written postcards; you do not have to write some philosophical poems (unless you choose to), but you can let them know simple little things, funny cards or pictures.
- Encourage them to stay active: Being confined within the four walls of our homes for almost a year, some of us have developed an unhealthy schedule and have avoided exercising. This lack of exercise reduces flexibility, and increases fall risks in older people. On the other hand, regular exercise can boost their immune system and improve their quality of life. You can motivate your loved ones to move more inside the house rather than sitting in one place for longer periods. If possible, you can take them out for some time so that they can enjoy the benefits of sunshine and fresh air.
- Prepare them for Daylight Saving Time: With the change to Daylight Saving Time, seniors can face difficulty while transitioning; there is an increased risk of heart attacks, and they face sleep difficulties. To avoid this, you should start preparing them ahead of time and suggest they go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier than their usual bedtime.
With all these efforts, not only will your beloved elders feel valued and loved, but they will also be safe from the usual diseases that come with age.