Protecting Seniors From COVID-19
By now, everyone in America knows something about the COVID-19 global pandemic, also known as the coronavirus. News media programming continues to broadcast information about this virus with varying degrees of accuracy, which has created some confusion, especially for seniors who are the most vulnerable. Rightathome.net, a leader in the in-home senior care industry, provides clear instructions and goals that don't change from moment to moment about how to best protect seniors from this disease and what symptoms to look for if they feel unwell, that may be indicative of the coronavirus. No matter where in the coronavirus cycle you and your community are, for your safety and the safety of those you love, please follow these commonsense precautions. If you need help to accomplish some of these tasks, ask a loved one.
Ways that can significantly minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 include:
- Stay at home as much as possible. If you have to go out in public, maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
- Get good rest, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated. Also, stay hopeful and be positive. All of these actions can boost your immune system.
- Request that your doctor extend your prescriptions or use mail-order prescription services so that you can stock up on your medications and other needed health supplies.
- Avoid touching your face, in particular your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Always cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, particularly before eating, after using the bathroom, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Keep lotion on your hands as cracked skin surfaces are more vulnerable to viral transmissions.
- If there is no soap and water available, use a minimum of 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When soap and water become available, wash your hands with soap and water.
- Frequently clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces like counters or doorknobs with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
- If you feel sick, contact your doctor. Do not leave your home for a medical facility unless instructed to do so.
- If you must go out and want to wear a face covering, have a loved one bring you some “do it yourself” coverings. Health-grade medical masks must be preserved for health care workers.
Though there is still much we don’t know about the coronavirus, we do know that its onset and symptoms vary widely from person to person. You may display symptoms of COVID-19 after exposure in as few as two days, with an average of 5 days, and up to 14 days post-exposure. Symptoms may be mild fever and cough, or far more severe like weakness, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia. Symptoms are so similar to the common cold and flu that any of them should prompt you to call your primary care physician for discussion, support, and recommendations. Many doctors are using telehealth to protect their patients from having to visit potentially infected medical facilities.
If you feel sick, follow these tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others:
- Call before going to visit your doctor.
- Except for receiving medical care, do not go to public areas, or use public transportation. If at all possible, stay in your home.
- Isolate yourself within your home from other people and pets to protect them.
- Wear a face covering if you are around others.
- Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue and then throw it in the garbage.
- Do not share personal household items like dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, and even bedding. Thoroughly wash these personal items after use.
- Clean high-touch areas every day. Regularly used counters, tables, bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, toilets, phones, computer keyboards, digital devices like tablets, and bedside tables should be cleaned daily.
- Monitor and record your symptoms and follow the instructions provided to you by your local health department.
We hope you have found these tips helpful. If you have legal needs that you would like to discuss with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And if you are outside of Florida, please contact an experienced Elder Law Attorney (preferably one that is Board Certified in Elder Law), to assist you.
Jason A. Penrod is only the 20th attorney to be Board Certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation. He is the founder of Family Elder Law (www.familyelderlaw.com) which has offices in Lakeland, Lake Wales, and Sebring, Florida.