- Doctors urge elderlies to take their daily prescribed medicines on time
- Experts advise elderlies to wash hands and face at regular intervals
- They must stay at home and maintain a distance with others at home
New Delhi: Various international and national health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) have identified elderly people as being vulnerable to the novel coronavirus outbreak. This is because of their decreasing immunity and body strength. According to the experts, COVID-19 has been found to have been more fatal among elderly people with existing health problems such as those related to lungs, heart, kidney or if they have diabetes or have had cancer and HIV infection. Therefore, it is extremely important to take special care of senior citizens during the ongoing pandemic. While talking to NDTV about elderly care during COVID-19, Dr. Vijay Kumar, Assistant Professor, Geriatric Department, All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) said,
India is a very densely populated country and most household has one or more elderly people. With more than 16 crore senior citizens in the country, we have a substantial proportion of the total population that is at maximum threat from the novel coronavirus; In the case of elderlies, prevention is the only strategy to go for. While it is a huge challenge since the virus is already widely present, the senior citizens should not get exposed to SARS-CoV-2. We as a society really need to take care of our seniors.
Dr. Kumar, who has developed an advisory on protecting elderlies which was released by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, further said that basic hygiene rule, social distancing and nutritious diet can keep the elderlies from succumbing to COVID-19 which not only attacks the lungs but can also cause multiple organs failure in extreme cases and even death.
Highlighting that there is a direct correlation between mortality and age Dr. Kumar said that following basic precautions must be followed by senior citizens:
– Stay within the house all the time and avoid having visitors at home. If the meeting is essential, maintain a distance of one meter. In case a senior is living alone, they must find someone healthy in the neighbourhood who can help in procuring essential items for the home
– Do not come in close contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus disease like having fever/cough/breathing difficulty
– Avoid gatherings at all costs and do not shake hands or hug anyone
– Wash hands and face at regular intervals with soap and water and clean frequently touched surfaces and objects like spectacles with a disinfectant
– Eat only home-cooked, fresh and nutritious food and drink water frequently
– Do not miss the daily prescribed medicines and do not self-medicate
– Sneeze and cough into tissue paper/handkerchief. After coughing or sneezing dispose of the tissue paper in a closed bin/wash your handkerchief and hands
Dr. Kumar further recommended senior citizens to immediately contact the nearest healthcare facility if they develop fever, cough and/or breathing difficulty and follow the medical advice thereon and go for regular check-ups.
He also mentioned those who are caregivers for the elderlies must wash their hand before helping them. He asserted that people must refrain from getting close to elderly parents or relative if they have flu-like symptoms. Those living with elderly relatives at home are advised not to outside when it is avoidable to that chance of bringing the virus along can be reduced. He also advised against mixing clothes with elderly people’s clothes and recommended using a separate bath and hand towels.
Tips For Senior Citizens On Their Mental Well Being
Dr. Rakesh Sahay, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, and Professor at Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad said that he has been receiving queries from active senior who like to go for a walk, meet people in their neighbourhood and do not like staying indoors on how to pass the time. He said,
They may feel lonelier and more isolated from others. In this case, they should try and remain mobile within the house. They can do light exercises, yoga and meditation at home. They should not confine themselves to just one room. They can use technology like internet, video conferencing and mobile phone to talk with the loved ones. They must always keep monitoring their health.
He further said that in order to stay positive and be patient in the current times of crisis, elderlies can rediscover old hobbies like painting, listening to music, reading and watching movies. He cautioned all seniors to stay away from misinformation by not following sensational news or social media posts and must make sure that their source of information is reliable and authentic.
In the country there are 8.8 crore senior citizens in the age group 60-69 years, 6.4 crore in the age group 70-79 years, as per the age-wise data of Population Census 2011. Apart from these, the Census data also reveals that there almost 2.8 crore elderlies who are assisted by others and around 18 lakh elderlies who are homeless or deserted by their families. Experts say that with the dos and don’ts mentioned above, the chances of elderly people contracting the disease will reduce to the minimum.