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Coronavirus Pandemic

A 5-Step Coronavirus Survival Plan for Seniors

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, and now is becoming more widespread by the day in the United States, it is critical that the most vulnerable population being impacted understands how to be better prepared.

Seniors have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus with the tragic death of eight residents in a nursing home in Washington state, and a much higher mortality rate among seniors registered so far globally.

As of Monday, March 16, 2020, the U.S. had recorded 3,487  cases among all aes across 49 states and four territories, with 68 fatalities. These numbers will change daily; click here for daily updates on U.S. cases and here for the updating of international statistics.

Mortality with coronavirus is linked to the strength of a person’s respiratory system. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to respiratory conditions. In the case of coronavirus, the air sacs of the lung will fill up with fluids cutting off vital oxygen to the organs which can induce failure and possible death. Adding to the danger facing seniors is the contagious nature of the virus and the threat of it spreading in a confined population such as a nursing home or senior living community.

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Fortunately, the senior-care industry has taken action to combat these dangers and is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization  (WHO), and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to receive daily information updates, coordinate best practices to safeguard residents and staff, and monitor for any new outbreaks.

Seniors can be put at risk by living in a confined place such as a nursing home.

Seniors and their families should stay in close contact as this virus progresses. Here are five tips to better handle the coronavirus situation:

  1. Make every attempt to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then securely dispose of the tissue. If a tissue is not available, use your inner sleeve of your elbow.
  2. Continuously wash your hands with warm water and soap, or alcohol-based cleansers. Avoid touching your face and in particular your eyes, nose and mouth unless you have washed your hands and not come into contact with any possible contamination.
  3. Clean and disinfect surfaces such as electronic devices (cell phone, TV remote), and items that receive regular contact from hands such as doorknobs and handles.
  4.   The CDC has specifically warned that seniors (age 60 and above) and/or those with underlying health conditions should avoid travel and gathering in areas with crowds and communal activity such as eating or higher probability of person-to-person contact where any reported cases of Coronavirus have been found. At this time, the agency says, it’s also prudent to avoid activities such as “traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at  malls, and going to religious services.” They also recommend avoiding cruise ships.
  5. If you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms or any respiratory difficulties, you should stay at home and avoid coming into contact with others. It is best to consult your doctor, and a Telemedicine consultation from home is an option that many patients can use to seek care and get prescriptions.

People should also be very careful about overreacting and from where they get information. The best source for information is medical professionals such as your doctor, and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

People should be especially careful of fake news that is spreading across social media platforms, misinformation from political figures, possible scammers looking to prey on frightened seniors.

Smart hygiene, managing social interaction, keep open lines of communication among family members, being well informed, avoiding unnecessary travel or crowds, and not being duped by bad actors are all smart strategies to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

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