The Age of Coronavirus: How to Keep You and Your Parent Safe
With a public health emergency like COVID-19 on the rise (a mild to severe respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus), you may have become worried about you and your aging parent’s health. This can be especially concerning if your parent is 65 or older; older adults are at a higher risk for contracting a severe illness (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
So, what can you do during this time to prevent your parent—and yourself—from becoming ill?
Due to the 2019 novel coronavirus becoming a worldwide pandemic, it has been advised that people should do all that they can to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes washing their hands more frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and wearing a face mask when outdoors or around other people. Social distancing to stop the spread of the virus has also been highly recommended. However, when it comes to keeping older people safe, there is much more to consider.
If you take care of an aging parent, you may want to include more precautions in your daily life so that you do not end up getting sick, which in turn can increase the chance of getting your parent sick. Similar to other infectious diseases, a coronavirus can spread quickly if proper measures are not taken. This month, take your “spring cleaning” to the next level by following the tips discussed in this blog.
What to Clean:
Around 70% of common illnesses are spread by hands that have touched everyday surfaces, which is hard to believe. Because germs contaminate much of what we touch, it is essential that you take the time to use cleaning products on the inanimate objects around you. This includes:
- Phones (These are high-touch surfaces. Telephones have about 25,127 germs per square inch!)
- Car steering wheels
- Computer keyboards and mouses
- Windows around your home
- Kitchen countertops and sponges (make sure not to use the same sponge to clean countertops as you do to wash dishes)
- Stoves and ovens
- Bedroom nightstands
- Coffee tables and dining room tables
- Bathrooms (make sure to clean the toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub)
- light switches
- Cabinet handles
These are just a few of the things you should be disinfecting. However, you might be thinking, “How can I do all of that cleaning when I barely have enough time during the day to take care of my parent?” In this case, try to break up your cleaning schedule into segments.
For example, before helping dad get ready for the day, take 10-15 minutes to clean down your kitchen countertop and wipe down the stove with disinfectant products. During lunchtime, remember to clean your computer’s keyboard and mouse (especially if you are working from home during this time). Also, bring disinfecting wipes with you if you are on the go.
On the weekends, take on the bigger tasks such as deep-cleaning your bathroom, and windows. Also, do not forget to remove any dust from your home that may cause allergies; this includes changing your air filters. Cleaning and disinfecting can make a huge difference in both you and your parent’s health and can help to improve the hygienic conditions at home.
Other Ways to Keep You and Your Parent Safe:
As you may already know, many health officials and local authorities are consistently urging people to practice social distancing from the general public and stay home if they can. If a coronavirus is prevalent around your community, doing this can decrease everyone’s risk for contracting COVID-19. However, for many people, this can be an overwhelming and even frustrating time for them. It can also be discouraging for elders who are used to being in close contact with family members and friends.
With all of this said, it is still best for people to distance themselves from others for the time being. As a caregiver, this might mean changing your caregiver support group from in-person sessions to online sessions. For your aging parent, it might be best for them to video chat family and friends instead of having them come over to the house. Video chat is a great alternative for senior citizens to communicate with their loved ones without seeing them in person.
In addition to these changes, it is also important to consider your parent’s current state of health. Do they have any doctor’s appointments coming up in the next few weeks? Have they always suffered from a chronic illness that requires close monitoring and frequent checkups?
If they do, you may want to consider telemedicine (the practice of medicine when the doctor and patient are widely separated using two-way voice and visual communication). In 2019, surveys showed that 52% of Americans who are age 65 and older are open to telehealth.
Telemedicine makes it easy for your parent to have virtual doctor’s appointments right in their home, which is something that can be incredibly helpful during a time like this. If, for any reason, telemedicine would not be enough to help your parent, consider asking their doctor if house calls are an option.
Furthermore, make sure that your parent has enough of their medications, as well as food during this time. It is better to have what you need now instead of waiting to get essential items later on.
Overall, understand that none of the tips mentioned can ultimately prevent you or your parent from contracting a virus such as a coronavirus. However, these practices can help to decrease your exposure.
Do not worry—but be prepared:
With almost every news headline being about COVID-19, you might be feeling stressed at the moment. And, while it is important to stay informed, it is also important to turn off the news every now and again. Because you will be staying at home more, try to give your undivided attention to your parent and the rest of your family whenever you can. Try your best to spend time with them while also practicing the cleaning tips mentioned previously.
Also, if you or your parent tend to experience boredom or restlessness when staying at home for long periods, try doing different activities together. Watch an old movie, play a board game, exercise, read a book, do arts and crafts, meditate, or even begin a gratitude journal.
In the comments down below, share what you are doing to help keep you and your parent safe, as well as a few ways you are passing the time while staying indoors. Also, if you are interested in learning about Royal Estates of El Paso, visit our website or give us a call.
- “COVID-19.” Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/COVID-19. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.
- “Older Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications/older-adults.html. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.
- Thompson, Brittany. “Jaw-Dropping Statistics About Germs You Need To Know.” MonoFoil: A Clear Solution Blog, https://monofoilusa.com/blog/jaw-dropping-statistics-about-germs-you-need-to-know. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.
- “Telemedicine.” Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/telemedicine. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.
- “2019 Senior Consumer Survey Finds 52 Percent of Americans Ages 65+ are Open to Telehealth.” Amwell: Telemedicine Technology Solutions Press Release, https://business.amwell.com/press-release/2019-senior-consumer-survey-finds-52-percent-of-americans-ages-65-are-open-to-telehealth/. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.