Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the last month or so, there’s no way you haven’t heard about COVID 19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus. As a topic of discussion, COVID 19 is becoming more ubiquitous by the day. The news is talking about it, your family and friends are probably talking about it, and it’s starting to affect a lot of areas of our day-to-day life. Businesses are closing down, people are working from home, and much more.
At Wilson Care, we are especially tuned-in to the goings on of the Coronavirus, due to the fact that our elderly clientele are particularly at risk. COVID 19 hits seniors harder than anyone else, with a worryingly high mortality rate among that specific age group.
We not only want to protect our senior living home from exposure to this virus, but also the many elderly folks who are at home in Oahu. If you’re here on our website, it’s highly likely that you have elderly relatives, or you may even be a senior yourself. Whether you have a family member in our senior living home, one who receives homecare services, or you’re simply a concerned citizen who stumbled upon our blog, here are some things you should know about COVID 19, and how you can keep your elderly loved ones safe.
COVID 19 and the Elderly – What You Need to Know
At Wilson Care, we don’t generally believe in spreading doom and gloom, but facts are facts, and there’s one thing that everybody needs to be aware of: Coronavirus is very dangerous for the elderly. This isn’t panic-mongering, it’s statistical data from the thousands of cases that have spread worldwide.
Statistics on the mortality rate of COVID 19 vary from country to country, because it largely depends on how much of their population gets tested. However, statistics show that the mortality rate is about 1% on the lower end, and as high as 5% on the upper end. On a relative scale, 1% doesn’t seem like a large number, but that figure is a bit misleading — while only a tiny percentage of the overall population dies from the virus, the mortality rate is much higher among specific age groups — most notably, the elderly.
For people aged 70-79, the mortality rate is roughly 8% based on current data, and that number goes all the way up to 15% for people 80 and above. That’s a one in eight chance! Those are, quite frankly, odds that nobody should have to deal with, and that’s why COVID 19 is being taken so seriously across the globe. Even if young people will mostly weather the virus just fine, it’s up to all of us to protect our elderly population, and that’s something that we’re taking extremely seriously at Wilson Care.
How to Help Your Elderly Loved Ones
While many elderly people are tuned into the news system and are well aware of the danger of the virus, there is a good amount of them who are less plugged in to current events. It’s important for you to do your part in helping them maintain good habits and avoid the chances of exposure. Here are some things you can do:
As we mentioned above, many elderly folks have tuned out of the news cycle. Alternatively, they may be getting their news from dubious sources that downplay the severity of the virus. One of the best things you can do is educate and inform them about the dangers that they face being in their age group. They should know that the mortality rate for their age bracket is much higher, and that they face a strong chance of severe hospitalization even if they do weather it. Why go through all that trauma when you can avoid it entirely?
Help your loved one to understand that this is a new virus that society has not yet gained immunity to. Help them to know that they’re particularly at risk, which means that they should take safety measures seriously. Their safety is most important above all!
Teach Them Recommended Safety Standards
There’s one good thing about Coronavirus. Although it’s pretty contagious, has a nasty mortality rate, and has caused a fair bit of panic, it’s actually a pretty wimpy virus. That is to say, you can squash it pretty easily as long as you’re following basic sanitization standards.
Due to the biological makeup of the virus, it’s extremely vulnerable to soap and hot water. By just washing your hands for 20 seconds, you can eradicate any trace of the virus if you’ve come into contact with it. So this is the most important thing — tell your loved one to wash their hands! It’s not possible to do it too much.
Beyond that, the second most-recommended safety measure is to avoid touching your face. Coronavirus can “live” on surfaces for a period of a few hours up to a day or two. If it’s living on your hands or fingers, all it needs is a port of entry into your body. So when you touch your face, you’re giving it a quick path inside. Repeat with us — wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Any elderly person (well, anyone in general) greatly improves their odds by following these simple rules.
Get Them Any Supplies They May Need
Regardless of how much this virus does or doesn’t blow up, 2020 will forevermore be remembered as the year where the nation ran out of toilet paper. If young, active, healthy people can’t even get the essentials, what chance do the elderly have?
Panic buying is becoming an increasingly common problem in the wake of COVID 19, where many people buy way more food and supplies than they actually need, in fear of stock running out. In reality, you really only need enough food to last a few weeks, in case you contract the virus. Even in countries where the virus has hit the hardest, supermarkets have remained open. With that being said, it may be difficult for your loved one to get what they need, whether it be because of immobility, lack of transportation, or other factors, so you can help them out in a big way by supplying them with food and other necessities.
It’s also important to remember that your loved ones should avoid shopping, even if they’re perfectly capable of doing so. By going out and buying supplies, they’re putting themselves at risk of catching the virus. Do a solid for them — bring them soap and sanitizing supplies. Make sure they have enough food to last for a while. And, above all else, keep other people’s needs in mind; if you stockpile way more than you need, you’re just taking away from what other people could be buying, and therefore adding to the panic.
Keep Your Distance
Finally, there’s one more crucial piece of information about COVID 19. It has been reported that many people are capable of contracting the virus and not even showing any symptoms. For a lot of people, the virus passes right through them like nothing. This would be great, if not for the unfortunate side-effect — they become unwitting carriers.
Yes, it’s possible for you to have COVID 19 in your system and not even know it. Even if you do show symptoms, you could be carrying it for a week or two before they show. So, if you’re in close contact with elderly loved ones, you should always keep this in mind. Keep your distance whenever possible, and when you’re close with them, make sure you’ve washed your hands.
If this type of distancing is met with sadness or frustration for your loved one, just help to assure them that it’s because you love them. Sometimes we have to do hard things to keep our loved ones safe. At Wilson Care, we know this more than anyone.
Senior Home Care in Oahu
Wilson Care has remained operational during the COVID 19 pandemic, and we can assure you that there’s nobody who takes safety as seriously as us. We’re adhering to extremely strict standards to avoid the possibility of spreading the virus to our vulnerable elderly population. If you want a qualified caregiver to look after your beloved elderly family member or friend, contact us today. Furthermore, if you have any questions about COVID 19 and how we plan to handle it in the coming weeks and months, please ask; we’ll be happy to answer them.