Mental Health First Aid Kit: Senior Citizens
The news around the coronavirus is constantly changing. We are getting new information on deaths, hospitalization, isolation, precautionary steps and even survivors. It can be quite overwhelming as if you know you have to look away but you just can’t. There are many people we need to consider. One group are senior citizens or baby boomers. Although I cannot compare, I do think senior citizens have faced tougher battles than we can ever speak about. Therefore, they understand the situation but they are not losing their minds over it. Hence, we need to keep our elders safe and healthy and here is how to do so.
According to the Center Disease of Control, older adults are more likely at risk for the coronavirus. This especially goes to adults who have severe chronic conditions such as heart, lung and kidney disease.
Reason for this is because as people age, their immune system changes, making it harder to fight off any infections. “Age increases the risk that the respiratory system or lungs will shut down when an older person has Covid-19 disease,” says Kathleen Cameron, senior director of National Council of Aging.
Therefore, the CDC has addressed that the best way to prevent illness is through less exposure. In addition to keeping distance and washing your hands every so often, you should also stock up on supplies and avoid air travel, if possible. More so, cover your cough and sneeze inside a tissue. Immediately dispense the tissue after use. It helps to also clean and disinfect surface areas everyday.
Supporting the elderly
Many older adults depend on care from family members or caregivers. Here are additional steps you can do to take care of the elderly.
- See if your elderly needs assistance with taking medication.
- Monitor any medical supplies they need, stock up on the medical supplies and create a backup plan.
- Stock up on foods for them so you can minimize trips to the store.
- If need be, help with disinfecting touched surfaces and items.
The Insensitive Scammers
Unfortunately, some people are trying to get the bang for their buck by advertising products that would supposedly “cure” the coronavirus. The Federal Trade Commission has identified a few of them. These “curable products” come in vaccines, pills, lotions, lozenges and over-the-counter products. Check out the full list here on how to avoid vulnerability.
Furthermore, if you’ve received an email asking you to donate to a nonprofit organization, I strongly suggest that you research the organization first before being scammed. You can search the organization name through Charity Navigator.
Spring Seasonal Flu
Another thing that is unfortunate is that we are in flu season. According to the CDC, seniors over the age 65 are susceptible to flu-like deaths. Since there are no vaccines for the coronavirus, it’s never too late for individuals to get a flu shot. Most clinics or pharmacies do it for free. Also, medicare covers vaccines for influenza shots. If you do feel that it’s an emergency to contact your doctor then call the hospital or clinic first before stepping into their office. This eases tension, appointments and space for everybody.
Fearing the Covid-19 pandemic can be overwhelming, stressful and cause anxiety. Due to this, the CDC also informs seniors to:
- Take breaks from watching, reading and listening to the news. Being attentive to the pandemic just mulls over to more stress and anxiety.
- Take care of your body by taking deep, belly breaths inhaling through the nose for five seconds and exhaling through the mouth for five seconds. Also, get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat well.
- Connect with others. Distancing doesn’t mean departing. If you need to open up to someone with whom you trust, then do so. This isn’t easy to deal with. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Yes, we need to distance ourselves but we also need to support and help one other the best we can.
In result, senior citizens know a thing or two about pandemics and disastrous events because they’ve experienced a thing or two in their lives. We can learn a lot from their survival stories. However, they are the most vulnerable here and it’s important that they know and we know how to take care of them especially those with critical health conditions. By being prudent, we can protect and save the lives of the elderly.
No elderly should be like an “exile” in our families. The elderly are our treasure for our society.~Pope Francis