Elders are one of the most susceptible groups of people to COVID-19 and those with underlying conditions are even more vulnerable. Taking proper precautions to minimize the risk of caregivers and family members bringing COVID-19 into the home of a senior receiving in-home care is vital for their safety and welfare. Here are a few ways to protect your elder.
The first step in reducing risk to COVID-19 is monitoring who enters the house and interacts with the elder. The only way 100% effective in preventing contracting the virus is to not come in contact with it at all. If the elder can stay at home without leaving the house, that is the safest place for them. Attempt to limit visitors to healthcare providers and family members providing services such as food deliveries and other necessities. Safety is important but ensure mental status is also taken into account when determining duties in the house. Isolation is difficult and with some people having limited technological understanding, being alone can also be dangerous.
Family members and caregivers should monitor CDC guidelines and stay up to date on COVID-19 research. All visitors to the home should wear a mask and maintain 6-feet from the elder. Anyone entering the house should promptly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Elders should also follow these guidelines if possible when interacting with visitors. If someone has to touch the patient or touch a space that the patient resides heavily in such as a bed, gloves should also be donned.
Even following all of the proper guidelines cannot always prevent someone from getting sick. Having a plan if the healthcare provider, family member, or the elder gets sick will help ease anxiety and better prepare in case of an emergency. There is no treatment specific for COVID-19, only treatment that can relieve the symptoms caused by the virus. Knowing when to seek medical help and what can be handled safely at home is essential for minimizing the spread of this virus and keeping everyone safe.