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COVID-19 and the Elderly: What You Need To Know Now

August 14, 2020

While there is still much to be learned about the novel corona-virus and the elderly, there are some things we have learned for certain. By the latest confirmed count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while less than 20% of cases involve those over 65, more than 80% of deaths from COVID-19 are among elderly patients. Additionally, hospitalization rates are much higher for those over 50. Which is to say that the elderly are at higher risk of serious illness.

The highest risk is for those who live in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other congregate living arrangement. This is simply because there are a large number of people at increased risk in a setting where it is difficult, if not impossible, to practice proper social distancing. These settings also tend to contain more people with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses that can suppress the immune system. Some of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred in these settings. In fact, at the last point where data is available, more than a quarter of deaths from the pandemic have occurred in nursing home residents. Given that the virus can be transmitted from a nurse or other staff member, or a visiting family member, most nursing homes have barred visitors entirely, meaning that an elderly relative in one of these facilities

Because these types of facility are seeing an increased risk of COVID-19, many people may choose to stay in their home for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they may choose to receive home care instead of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

How Home Care Can Help

Home care aides take stringent precautions to keep their clients as safe and healthy as possible. From masks and other personal protective equipment to regular health screenings, home care aides go to great lengths to reduce the chances of infection to high risk elderly people.

In addition, home care aides can perform vital services that may reduce risk of the spread of COVID, including:

  • Light Housekeeping: regular cleaning especially of highly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, as well as surfaces like counter tops, light switches and tables.
  • Companionship: isolation can be unhealthy, and loneliness could lead people to engage in riskier behaviors.
  • Meal preparation: grocery shopping can be a stressful and difficult challenge during the pandemic. Our aides can assist in helping to make it safer and easier.
  • Medication reminders: When remaining at home for long periods of time, it can be difficult to keep track of time. Days may run together, leading to missed medications.
  • Transportation assistance: many medical appointments can’t be done virtually, meaning an elderly person must face a certain amount of risk to travel to the appointment. Using ride share services or public transportation may increase that risk.
  • Brain games and activities: Staying active, both physically and mentally has its own benefits. But during a pandemic, it is especially important to stay sharp, if only to be able to remember important details like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

Obviously, there is no foolproof way to live without any risk whatsoever from the coronavirus, and the elderly know that better than most. But our services can help reduce that risk, allowing family members some measure of peace of mind.

An Ounce of Prevention: COVID-19 Best Practices

The single best way to avoid getting sick from the corona virus is not to be infected with it. Regardless of whether you or your loved one is in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or chooses home care, it is important to follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of the corona virus infection. These basic measures include:

  • Frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol may be used as a substitute.
  • Maintain physical distance from others of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Wearing a mask or face covering in public to help block respiratory droplets.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces using soap and water, then use a household disinfectant.
  • Monitor your health, and watch for symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

The full list of prevention best practices from the CDC is available here.

We’re Here To Help

Making the decision to use home care instead of an Assisted Living or Nursing Home facility is never an easy one, especially in these dangerous and unprecedented conditions. That’s why we want you to know that our priority is the health and safety of you and your elderly relatives, as well as the health and safety of our home care aides. Because they are members of our community, and often members of our own families, we understand the challenges that elderly folks are facing. If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to discuss any concerns you may have about how home care can help you or your elderly family member, please do not hesitate to call us at  877.947.2658  or email us: info@homecare-aid.com

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Home Care Powered by AUAF is located in Lincolnwood, IL and serves clients throughout northern Illinois including:   Albany Park, Chicago   •   Arlington Heights   •   Barrington   •   Bloomingdale   •   Evanston   •   Hoffman Estates   •   Irving Park, Chicago   •   Lincolnwood   •   Morton Grove   •   Mount Prospect   •   Niles   •   Palatine   •   Rogers Park, Chicago   •   Roselle   •   Schaumburg   •   Skokie   •   South Barrington   •   Streamwood   •   Uptown, Chicago   •   West Ridge, Chicago.