With fears of Coronavirus looming, you might have noticed that assisted living facilities are taking special precautions, and for good reason. The virus is especially lethal for older individuals, with a 4% mortality rate for those 60+, an 8.6% mortality rate for those 70+, and a staggering 13.4% mortality rate for individuals 80 and older.
With statistics like these, it makes sense that anyone with older relatives would want to know how to keep them safe, and doubly so if they also need to provide care to their aging loved ones. Today, we’ll be looking at some best practices that will help you keep you and your family safer.
Start By Keeping Yourself Well
When providing care for an older family member, it’s important to keep yourself healthy and disease free so that you minimize the chances of spreading the infection. This includes the obvious health advice — like washing your hands regularly, keeping your hands away from your face, and regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces to minimize the chance of disease — but also includes a bit of social distancing too.
Off the bat, you should know to avoid crowds (as these increase the chance of spreading a virus), but in addition to that, you’ll want to change how you interact with others on a day-to-day basis as well. It’s not complete isolation from other people, mind you, but maintaining a safe distance from others (six feet at minimum) so that you can reduce the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 and passing it on.
Social Distancing & Caregiving
Obviously, if you’re providing care to an older loved one, it will be nigh-impossible to avoid getting close to them altogether. This is to be expected, and the rule surrounding social distancing doesn’t quite apply when we’re talking about someone you’re giving care to.
In fact, keeping elderly family members isolated can actually be counterproductive to their overall health. Maintaining social bonds is critical for keeping older individuals’ in good spirits, which, in turn, helps boost their immunity and mental health.
The Importance Of Mental Health
Speaking of mental health, if you’re providing for an older relative, it’s important to care for your own mental state as well. Though uncertainty is abound, you’ll need to make a dedicated effort to take breaks from the deluge of news so you can emotionally charge. What’s more, it might be a good idea to stay in touch with your family and social circle as best as possible, leveraging video chats and other technology to keep everyone close — in the virtual sense!