April 1st, 2020
Some tips are applicable to every generation, but there are specific precautions older adults should take to protect their health.
ASSESSING YOUR RISK LEVEL
The CDC says “older adults” and people with severe chronic illness are more likely to become severely ill from Covid-19. Infectious disease experts define “older adults” as anyone age 60 and up, so people in that age group should be cautious.
It’s possible to contract the virus at a younger age — it’s just more dangerous in older adults because the immune system weakens with age. In particular, people over the age of 80 may want to exercise even more caution. A report published in the medical journal JAMA that examined more than 72,000 Chinese coronavirus patients found that the overall fatality rate was 2.3%. But in adults over 80, the fatality rate rose to 15%.
If you live in a community where there’s an outbreak, you’re at a higher risk of infection, too. Follow the advice below.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE
For starters, you should cancel all non-essential doctor’s appointments.
Whether it’s a standard check-up, a follow-up appointment for a stable condition or an elective procedure, if it can wait, then it should.
If you have an important appointment coming up, consider doing it in a video call or from your smartphone. Telehealth tech lets physicians confer with patients who may not be able to leave their homes.
Tell a friend, a loved one, a co-worker or a neighbor if you’re concerned about the illness. Appoint one of them as an emergency contact who you can call with concerns or requests for help.
Otherwise, do what you’d do during flu season: Wash your hands frequently, the right way. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available, though washing your hands is preferred.
THINGS YOU SHOULD STOCK UP ON
As you’ve already been told, there is no reason to panic, or to hoard.
The CDC recommends keeping enough groceries and toiletries on hand to last you a “prolonged period of time.” There’s no timeline for the Covid-19 outbreak, though, so think basic.
*Stock up on toothpaste, detergent, water filters, etc.
*Make meals and freeze them if you’re concerned about food.
Stocking up on medication ahead of time isn’t always plausible. You may be able to switch to a 90-day supply for your prescription, but if this isn’t possible, the CDC suggests mail ordering medications.
WAYS TO ALTER YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES
Older adults living in communities where the virus has spread should take extra precautions.
*Avoid public places where crowds may gather or poorly ventilated buildings where the risk of transmission is higher, the CDC said.
*Restrict your time in public and limit close contact.
*Older adults should still exercise and eat right, just as they would at any other time of the year.
*And again, constant — and proper — handwashing before, during and after a trip into the public is necessary.