How to Care for the Elderly During Quarantine

In order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, most countries have gone on quarantine. This is an effective way of ensuring that the virus will not jump from one host to another. (SEE ALSO: Qatar Now Has 537 COVID-19 Cases)

To some people, it is fairly easy to understand why there is a need to stay at home. But to others, it can be difficult to grasp the concept of staying at home for a long period. An expert at Johns Hopkins Medicine have shared some advice to help the elderly cope during quarantine.

elderly in quarantine

7 Ways to Help the Caregiver Care for the Older Adult

Some people might need to adjust to the idea that they need to stay at home, when they are used to getting out of the house to socialize with others. In this time of the pandemic, the safest place to be is at home. But some members of the family, like the elderly, might put up some resistance because they are no longer allowed to go out when they want to. This is a problem encountered by those who are responsible to care for the elderly.

An expert at Johns Hopkins University shared some ideas on how to help older people adjust with this period of quarantine. Since the older people are more likely to be harmed by the virus, they really need to stay away from people. Here are some ideas to consider:

#1. Keep yourself well.

It is important that caregivers are healthy so they can take care of the elderly. Experts frequently remind to observe to do these protective measures:

  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds. Hand washing is recommended before and after contact with patient, before preparing food, after using the bathroom, and after contact with surfaces in public places
  • Keep away from crowds
  • If sneezing or coughing, cover one’s mouth with disposable tissues or using the elbow
  • Do not touch the face
  • Clean the surroundings as often. This include cleaning the mobility and medical equipment used like walkers, canes and handrails

#2. Practice social distance but not social isolation.

Research has shown that older people are more likely to have severe infection if they catch the virus. To prevent this it is recommended that visits from other people be lessened or stopped altogether.

Although this might cause a problem to older people who cherish visits from their family members, now is a good time to cultivate relationship with some people in the neighbourhood. Caregivers can encourage the elderly to greet and wave service workers who pass by their house on a daily bases.

To some elderly who cannot go to their church to worship and to socialize with their fellows, they can be encouraged to access the online worship service. They can still grow their faith deeper, even at the comfort of their homes.

#3. Use technology for staying connected.

Now is the perfect opportunity to teach the older adults some technology to help them get in touch with their loved ones. They can use smart phones, laptops or tablets to video chat with family members. Or for a more conventional method, family members who are no longer part of the household can pick up the phone to call their loved ones. Even friends can also write a note to one another.

4. Keep elders involved.

During the period of quarantine, it is recommended to introduce activities or projects that can be done with older adults. It could mean asking them how to cook a favourite recipe, or talk about their favourite shows, or organize their memorabilia.

5. Minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.

During the pandemic, it might not be a good time to bring the elders to the hospital for non-essential doctor visits. If the elderly in the family is feeling well, then there is no need to go to the hospital for the routine check up. If the physician offers such alternative, they can conduct their check up online or through a phone call.

Most importantly, this is not the time for the older adults to travel since it will just expose them to crowds. Postpone non-essential travels in the meantime.

6. Decide on a plan.

Family members can discuss what to do in case one of them gets sick. If this aspect is planned ahead of time, it will reduce stress to everyone.

The family should assign an alternate caregiver in case the primary caregiver gets sick. It is also important to stock up on essentials, like medications, food, pet supplies, etc. It is recommended to have at least three months supply of medication and about two weeks worth of food products. It might also help to get the number of retail stores that offer deliveries.

7. Call ahead for symptoms or exposure.

It is important to inform the family physician or healthcare facility if any family members are exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, or has shown symptoms like cough, fever or shortness of breath. Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health instructs the public to call 16000, a dedicated hotline for questions and other inquiries regarding the virus.

By being informed, we can help one another get through this difficult time. The precautionary measures that authorities implement are for the well-being of everyone.