OLDER ADULTS (Over 60)
Excellent advice from Age UK and Carers UK
And from the USA's National Council on Aging
Coronavirus (COVID-19) health advice for Older Adults and for carers
How to support Older Adults
Definition of Older Adult: When the media and advisory websites refer to ‘Older Adults’, they are politely saying ‘anyone over 60’.
Useful advice on this site: If you are an older person, or wish to provide an older person with some useful advice, then please click HERE for our detailed, easy-to-follow illustrated guide to what to do.
If you are concerned about an older person, you can contact AgeUK at firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact details and AgeUK will get in touch with them. If it is outside Mon-Fri 9-5 office hours then please contact Social Services in their area.
Higher Risk: The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA has identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease at higher risk for more serious COVID-19. According to the CDC, early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19.
This is likely because as people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection, and because many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from. Age increases the risk that the respiratory system or lungs will shut down when an older person has COVID-19 disease.
That’s why the CDC is recommending that people at higher risk take the following actions:
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid travelling on cruise ships and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
People of all ages can support older adults during this time. Many older adults depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence. The CDC recommends that family members, neighbors, and caregivers:
- Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Remember the Seasonal Flu, Too
It’s also important to remember that we are still in the middle of the seasonal flu season, which impacts older adults every year. According to the CDC, it’s estimated that 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people aged 65+.
While there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, it’s never too late for individuals to get their annual flu shot. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how you can protect yourself and those around you.
With COVID-19 and all health issues, when in doubt, the best course forward is always to consult with your doctor. Many physicians and health care providers are asking that people call or send their questions via email first before coming into the office.
Creating an emergency plan
We advise all carers to create an emergency plan – for you and all those you look after. Having a plan in place can help ease your worries if you are not able to care for those you look after at any point in the future.
In order to create an emergency plan that fits your needs, you will need to consider:
- details of the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after
- who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency – this might include friends, family or professionals
- details of any medication the person you look after is taking
- details of any ongoing treatment they need.
Some other useful tips
Think about whether there are alternative ways of getting shopping to the person/people you care for.
You could sign up to a repeat prescription delivery service if the person you care for is reliant on regular prescription medication. For further guidance see the NHS online ECHO pharmacy scheme.