How to Support Your Older Loved Ones And Your Older Neighbors During COVID-19
People of all ages can support older adults during this time. Like all of us, older adults are not one monolithic group – everyone has different needs and abilities. Some people depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
Here are some things you can do to help an older loved one or neighbor:
- Check-in and see what they need from their perspective.
- Call to simply say hello.
- Know what medications he/she is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand or help organize medications.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed. Create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in his/her home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
- Help with disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
- Makes sure he/she has an emergency contact and a contact to call for some ordinary help during this time.
Beware of Scams
Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus and older adults are prime targets.
Be on the lookout for emails claiming to be from the CDC saying they have information about the virus and offering medications and vaccinations you can purchase. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19 online or in stores.
If you receive an email asking you to donate to a nonprofit that is fighting the coronavirus, make sure to research the organization first through an independent charity rating service such as Charity Navigator.
Remember the Seasonal Flu, Too
It’s also important to remember that we are still in the middle of the seasonal flu season, which impacts older adults every year. According to the CDC, it’s estimated that 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people older than 65 years of age.
While there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, it’s never too late for individuals to get their annual flu shot. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how you can protect yourself and those around you and don’t forget that Medicare covers the cost for vaccines for influenza and other diseases.
What About Eye Conditions And COVID-19?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has reported rare cases of conjunctivitis as it relates to COVID-19. If you are concerned, please call us at 860 644-5011.