3 Ways to Keep Your Aging Parents Safe in the Age of COVID-19
The whole world is now reeling from the COVD-19 pandemic. The virus has killed hundreds of thousands and infected millions — not to mention the economic damage and other negative social effects it has caused.
People all over are rightfully afraid. The concern is especially severe for seniors who face a much higher risk of having complications after contracting coronavirus. But the key is to not fall victim to fear. Rather than becoming paralyzed by worry, you need to be smart.
Preparation and caution are the biggest keys for everyone — and this is even more urgent for older people. If this applies to your parents, you need to encourage them to stay safe and follow the best practices suggested by public health experts.
As this situation continues to unfold, make sure to continue consulting the proper authorities for the latest on this ever-changing epidemic. But we already know a lot. And the following tips will help anyone keep their aging parents safe in the time of COVID-19.
Practice Social Distancing
While everyone should be practicing social distancing right now, this is even more important for seniors. Fortunately, most kids who contract the virus do not get sick in a way that endangers their immediate health. The same goes for many healthy young adults. But this disease can attack the respiratory system — and perhaps the whole body. So those with older, less robust immune systems face a higher risk of having bad outcomes. And the easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen is by avoiding exposure as much as possible. Stay home as much as possible, and be very careful by wearing masks and avoiding others when you are outside.
Prioritize Healthy Habits
Especially as this goes on longer and longer, complete isolation is not always an option. So along with ongoing and strict social distancing, you need to encourage your older parents to keep up with all their healthy habits. They should be washing their hands regularly throughout the day. They should try to eat better and do things that could help their immune system. Green tea, yogurt, citrus, berries, and some other immune system-boosting foods might help. But the best way is to just eat as healthy as possible in general, get some moderate exercise each day, and sleep well throughout the night. This will all go a long way to increasing their odds of not having complications.
Have Good Coverage
No matter how safe you are, there is some risk of contracting COVID-19. Hopefully, your parent will be in the majority and shake off the effects quite quickly with no need for hospitalization. But they need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and also just have coverage for normal medical care. For most seniors, and even those approaching 65 years old, this means enrolling in and applying for Medicare. There is a reason that it is one of the largest, most-used federal programs we have. It provides more affordable care and will help ensure that your parents get that treatment they need no matter what happens during this pandemic.
Staying Healthy and Safe in a Pandemic
With social distancing, healthy habits, and Medicare coverage, your parents should be as prepared as possible. This will keep them much safer when it comes to avoiding the virus and recovering if they do come down with COVID-19.
But avoiding illness isn’t the only aspect of health. While making sure to keep all these tips in mind, you should also encourage your parents to stay physically and mentally active. They can still go for walks while socially distancing, for example. And they could start enjoying some brain teaser games and puzzles throughout the day.
Perhaps more than anything, keep them socially engaged. This probably can’t include in-person contact in most cases. But you can help out by making sure you check in on them and urging them to stay in touch with other loved ones. We are all struggling to deal with all of this. But if we stick together and look out for our family members, we can all stay as safe — and healthy — as possible.