Few topics have consumed the news and other media outlets over the past few months as much as COVID-19. More commonly known as the Coronavirus, this outbreak has more than 427,000 confirmed cases in the United States and has been the cause of over 15,000 deaths since the beginning of 2020.
With over a million more cases and tens of thousands of additional deaths across the world, this pandemic has become a major cause for concern on a global scale.
As people are looking for ways to curb the spread of this disease, much of the worry is revolving around how the Coronavirus affects seniors. If you have elderly loved ones, it’s important that you understand what COVID-19 is, the impact it has, and how to prevent your senior family members from contracting it.
When breaking down COVID-19, the ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ is for ‘virus,’ and the ‘D’ is for disease. The 19 stands for 2019 because it is a new virus that was discovered toward the end of last year after an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Since then, it has spread to hundreds of other countries, all struggling to prevent it from growing even further.
Presenting itself in a few different ways, Coronavirus early symptoms include a fever, cough, and fatigue. In severe cases, upper respiratory issues arise such as wheezing or trouble breathing.
Most people who are subjected to COVID-19 are recovering on their own, but it remains a growing problem that the World Health Organization (WHO) is trying drastically to slow down.
Click here for the most recent Coronavirus update from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
How Does COVID-19 Affect Seniors?
More than 80% of individuals who get the Coronavirus have mild cases and recover on their own with no additional treatment needed. But a large portion of the remaining 20% are seniors, especially those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and other breathing problems.
Seniors are more prone to this disease as their immune systems are already compromised due to the natural degeneration of their bodies. Elderly individuals tend to eat less and have a harder time sleeping, which further adds to the likelihood of them being subject to illnesses like COVID-19.
Even seniors with other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s as well as a history of strokes will be more vulnerable.
With these concerns in mind, now is the time to take additional measures to ensure these individuals are shielded from anything that would threaten their health.
The Coronavirus is spread in a variety of ways and has the ability to survive for long periods of time without a host. Most COVID-19 cases are spread through personal contact with someone who is already sick. When they sneeze or cough, the virus can remain active on the surface for hours or even days in some cases.
A recent study shows that the Coronavirus can last “up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel”. The disease is contracted through personal touch or by touching an infected surface followed by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
You have likely heard the term “social distancing” over the last few weeks, as it has become the most common concept to prevent the spread of this disease. Especially when it comes to being around seniors, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone else as much as possible.
Though it may be difficult for you and your senior loved one, even you as a family member should keep your distance to protect them from this pandemic.
And while handwashing should always be standard practice, it is now more important than ever. Hands should be washed frequently throughout the day with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds each time.
Why Home Care is a Safer Option than Nursing Homes
You may be wondering what else you can do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your senior loved one. One of the most critical conversation topics coming from healthcare professionals may surprise you.
Many experts are suggesting that people remove their senior loved ones from nursing homes during this pandemic. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have close quarters, often with a large number of people living within their space. A large number of these locations house more than one person to a room.
These factors lead to lots of contact with numerous people throughout the day. From nurses and doctors to other residents and their visitors, your senior loved one is at a higher risk of contracting a disease as contact-based as the Coronavirus.
A great alternative to these options is to hire a care provider who can serve your family member from the comfort and safety of their own home. Among the many benefits to home care services, your loved one will enjoy:
- Minimal personal contact with other people
- Meal planning and preparation
- Cleaning and housekeeping
- Caring companionship
- And more
Choosing the Best Option During the COVID-19 Pandemic
No matter where your loved one lives, there are steps that can be taken to help them avoid the Coronavirus. Whether they’re in a nursing home, assisted living, or being cared for at home, discuss the best practices with those who have direct contact with your family member to ensure their safety. Practice social distancing and proper handwashing to provide an even stronger shield to their health.
If you’re thinking about pulling your loved out of a facility and need assistance from an in-home care provider, the team here at Pacific Angels Home Care would love to serve you!
Contact us today for more information and to see how we are combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.