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High Risk Groups & COVID-19

It’s True: Dad May Be At Higher Risk for COVID-19 (Ways Families Can Protect Their Loved Ones This Father’s Day)

We’ve heard much talk in recent months about high-risk groups and COVID-19. And while the spread of coronavirus shows signs of significant slowing, dads across the country must still be diligent in reducing infection exposure this Father’s Day. Many are older and suffering from comorbidities, and data shows men are generally more vulnerable.

Here are COVID-19 considerations for “Dad” and ways families can work to protect their loved ones amid COVID-19 this Father’s Day.

Why Aging Men Are Generally Higher Risk

While the media has largely focused on other at-risk groups, research does suggest men face a greater COVID-19 threat than women. The reasons aren’t immediately intuitive but seem to make sense when explored further.

First, experts believe men have weaker immune systems. There’s no proof they’re more likely to contract coronavirus in the first place, but there is evidence men are at increased risk for medical complications thereafter. A major Chinese study showed 70% of COVID-19 deaths were men, and a World Health Organization (WHO) study of Europeans put their figure at 63%. This data is further supported by prior SARS research from 2003.

Second, experts speculate men are more apt to ignore early COVID-19 symptoms and are less likely to seek medical attention even if they suspect they are infected. This theory may seem rooted in gender stereotypes. But it is supported by years of related data showing men are less inclined to accept preventive care or schedule annual physicals.

Third, behavioral research suggests many men engage in risky behavior and are likely to ignore the social-distancing and infection-prevention recommendations of medical experts. Again, the theory is not just a product of cultural stereotyping but is well established by existing data. For example, car insurance companies charge men higher monthly premiums due to objective statistics relating to dangerous driving habits and accidents.

Assess His Unique Risk

Medical experts focus on “patient populations” in order to improve health outcomes for large groups of people. But individuals can also assess their own risk on a personal level. All older men should take COVID-19 seriously, but certain fathers must be especially careful.

Overweight dads and those with conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are likely to suffer severe medical complications from COVID-19 infection. Men with other respiratory illnesses and asthma are also vulnerable. Families should have honest discussions with their fathers in order to make calculated decisions on exposure risk.

Give Him Options

Dads who face greater COVID-19 risks can still celebrate Father’s Day with their families! As many experts say, “Social distancing is not the same as social isolating.” Loved ones might congregate virtually, exchange gifts and share meals. Some families may be able to meet up at outdoor settings while still maintaining safe distancing, depending on their location and individual circumstances. Ultimately, safe and realistic solutions must be made case by case, using guidelines from medical experts and local authorities.

Leverage Technology

As families explore their own Father’s Day options, some may conclude technology provides the safest solution. By now, most people are familiar with Zoom calls and other video services. Fathers at particularly-high risk of COVID-19 might be best served by combining virtual communication with food delivery service.

While not ideal, an aging dad can still enjoy his favorite meal while meeting with family members via his tablet or smartphone. Loved ones might even consider finding a father’s favorite movie on DVD and arranging for it to be delivered to his doorstep. The family can then enjoy a nice virtual dinner together followed by a virtual movie screening!

LifeFone & PERS Technology

On a more fundamental level, families should also consider technology solutions that provide improved safety for aging fathers. These tools are usually referred to as “personal emergency response systems” (PERS) and are especially important for men living alone. Some PERS options are also quite comprehensive when compared to years past.

For example, LifeFone’s PERS solutions offer active and passive medical alerts for aging men who fall or suffer other emergencies. LifeFone also has “on-the-go” technology that empowers an older father to enjoy outdoor activities with peace of mind. So, a comprehensive and adaptable solution like LifeFone might actually be embraced as a welcomed Father’s Day gift for an aging man who wishes to stay active!

LifeFone can also improve the lines of communication, which helps families stay connected and eases the minds of concerned loved ones. Unlike video chat applications and mobile phones, LifeFone provides real-time communications related to physical health, medication adherence and medical emergencies. Families can know if anything is awry in real time and act accordingly!

Parting Thoughts

Ultimately, people want the best for their aging loved ones. Father’s Day is certainly a time for appreciation and celebration, but it’s also a great opportunity to assess an older dad’s safety; especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, any concerns over infection risk and social-distancing protocols can mostly be overcome with technology and a bit of creativity.

If you’re in need of medical alert solutions for a father or other vulnerable loved one, be sure to talk to a U.S.-based LifeFone representative today (available 24/7)!

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