Senior Health During a Pandemic
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has made massive changes to our day-to-day lives, but one sector of the population that has experienced some of the most severe consequences of the pandemic is seniors.
Seniors who are 85 and older are the most high-risk group for COVID-19, and for that reason, families and caregivers have been forced to quarantine seniors for their protection. While these measures are vital for protecting our senior population, they also cause seniors to become isolated and disrupt their day-to-day routines.
What Can I Do To Stay Healthy During the Covid-19 Outbreak?
Some ways to reduce the risk of seniors contracting COVID-19 and lowering their risk of other conditions include creating healthy routines. These routines include:
1. Getting Enough Sleep
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults over 60 require 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Sleep is essential for maintaining immunity and cognitive function for people of all ages, and it is crucial for seniors. Creating a nighttime routine can help to regulate sleeping patterns.
2. Eating a Healthy Diet
Seniors often require foods high in nutrients but low in calories, like fresh fruits and vegetables.
A physician may recommend a specialized diet for a senior to address medical issues associated with aging, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Utilizing food delivery apps such as Instacart and Ubereats can offer a no-contact, convenient source of food and other pantry items for seniors.
Please read our article on Senior Nutrition Tips for more information.
3. Staying Active
Social distancing and isolation can significantly limit physical activity for seniors. However, seniors can increase their physical activity by following Youtube videos such as this 15-minute Sample Workout for Older Adults by the National Institute on Aging.
Seniors can also benefit from low-impact exercises with assistance from caregivers such as physical therapists. For more information on easy activities that you can do from home, click here.
For information on easy exercises you can do at home, click here to learn more.
3. Avoiding Dehydration
Seniors are especially at risk for severe dehydration, and being isolated during a pandemic can raise that risk even higher.
Seniors already have issues staying hydrated due to the natural aging process, pre-existing conditions, or medications such as diuretics that interfere with proper hydration. Being isolated during a pandemic can raise this risk.
Reminding seniors to drink an adequate amount of water can be vital in maintaining their health.
4. Keeping Track of Medications
Isolation and social distancing may cause seniors to lose track of time and possibly forget to take prescribed medications. Some ways that you can help prevent this are to set an alarm or place reminders in high-traffic areas of their home such as the kitchen or their bedroom.
5. Frequent Hand-Washing and Good Hygiene Practices
One simple way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Washing your hands for up to 20 seconds at a time, in addition to using hand sanitizer can help to reduce contracting and spreading COVID-19 significantly.
Besides protective measures for Covid-19, some seniors may need additional assistance maintaining personal hygiene if they are disabled. Nurses and caregivers can assist seniors with bathing, brushing their teeth, cleaning, and grooming. Seniors need to practice good personal hygiene to prevent infection.
6. Staying Connected
Staying connected and communicating regularly is one of the best ways to help seniors during a pandemic. In addition, periodically calling or having video chats can help prevent depression and loneliness in seniors during lockdown.
Please note: The information in this article is provided as an educational resource and should not be used as a substitute for professional expertise, diagnosis, and treatment regarding a specific medical condition. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes or doing any physical exercises. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by grief or depression, contact a mental health professional.
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