How To Protect Elderly Family Members

Right now, one of the biggest concerns stemming from the spread of coronavirus is the health of our elderly. You may worry about your older parents, grandparents and loved ones who live in nursing homes, and you may wonder what you can do to keep them safe. The CDC provides guidelines for protecting elderly persons during this time.

The CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have teamed up to produce an extensive list of guidelines by which all nursing home facilities, assisted living homes and rehabilitation centers should follow to keep residents safe. Among those guidelines are the following:

  • Severely restrict all visitation except for in certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations.
  • Restrict all non-essential healthcare personnel and volunteers, such as barbers, launderers, etc.
  • Cancel all communal dining and group activities.
  • Actively screen and monitor residents for respiratory symptoms and fever.

Nursing home facilities and other long-term care facilities should also implement a COVID-19 response plan. This plan should include process through which staff can rapidly identify and manage ill residents, considerations for consultant staff and visitors, sick leave policies, training and education and supplies and resources.

How You Can Protect Your Loved Ones

There are steps you too can take to keep elderly individuals safe during this scary time. First and foremost, respect nursing homes’ decision to restrict visitation. If you want to remain in contact with a loved one who lives in a long-term care facility, use a video app, such as DrOwl.

Also, try to maintain a safe distance between yourself and elderly individuals in general. Try not to visit your elderly parents or grandparents at this time. Encourage hard-headed elderly family members to stay home and avoid crowds.

Try to do as much as possible for your loved ones as well. For instance, volunteer to go grocery shopping for your parents, make sure your grandparents have the medications and equipment they need and make sure they have enough household supplies on hand for at least three weeks.

If you live with an elderly person, take extra precautions. Sanitize commonly used surfaces daily. Wash your hands thoroughly after coughing, sneezing, going to the restroom or being out in public. Stay home as much as possible to avoid possible exposure.

The elderly are the most at-risk population, along with immunocompromised individuals. It is up to you and other individuals in low-risk categories to do your part to contain the virus and keep at-risk populations safe. Follow CDC recommendations, abide by government mandates and just be smart.