How to Stay Safe…Coronavirus and Your Elderly Loved Ones

Taking care of an elderly loved one is difficult enough, but when you combine that with the coronavirus panademic it may seem like it’s virtually impossible. Many states are still in state mandatory lock down while some states are starting to ease restrictions. Here are some current statistics and resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older

Among adults confirmed with COVID-19 reported in the U.S.:

  • Estimated percent requiring hospitalization
    • 31-70% of adults 85 years old and older
    • 31-59% of adults 65-84 years old
  • Estimated percent requiring admission to intensive care unit
    • 6-29% of adults 85 years old and older
    • 11-31% of adults 65-84 years old

In summary: older adults with severe chronic medical conditions and weak immune systems are the highest at risk.  If you’re one of the adults that are at risks, it’s important for you to take action to reduce those risks.  Here is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you do to care for yourself.

Family Caregiver Plan

Public service announcements are asking us to do the “five”.

  1. Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds
  2. Cough into your elbow
  3. Don’t touch your face
  4. Keep a safe distance
  5. Stay at home if you can

Keeping our Homes Clean

We need to practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and more importantly, high touch surfaces which include: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.  Make sure you wear gloves and have good ventilation during use of the product. .  Use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Check the expiration dates on cleaning supplies.  Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

To make a bleach solution, mix:

  1. 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  2. Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.

Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.  Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Here are some other things that we should consider doing.  Have a plan if you feel you are getting sick.  Have a plan if your caregiver gets sick.  You should talk to your physician to make sure you have enough medication on hand.  Have enough supplies (food and cleaning) on hand to get you through a few weeks if you have to.  Local stores are offering adults 65 and older specific times for them to come in and shop. Each store is different but it is usually an hour before the store opens.  Watch the local news and understand what is going on in your neighborhood.  This should give you a better idea of whether it’s safe or not to go out into public.

If you start to see symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact your physician or local healthcare provider.  These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.