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Tips for caring for elderly loved ones in the coming weeks

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is affecting adults 60 and older more severely than younger people. As such, it is crucial for us to check in on our older loved ones and make sure they are okay in the coming weeks.

Below are some tips that can help you, whether you are over 60 yourself or you care for someone who is.

Have regular (but protected) check-ins

Simply talking to someone every day or every few days can be crucial, especially during times when he or she may be isolated. If you are older, reach out to family to set up a schedule for check-ins. You might also consider examining community groups and resources that provide support to seniors.

If you care for someone over 60, make sure you stay in touch with them. Because this likely will not involve face-to-face chats, consider video chatting, phone calls and other means of checking in without putting his or her health at risk.

Make sure you have the essentials on hand

You do not need to go out and hoard as much toilet paper as you can (nor should you), but it is vital for older people to have essential supplies over the next few weeks. This includes medication, food and other necessities.

It can also be helpful to ensure their bills are up-to-date. Having a phone, internet, water or other utilities disconnected during a period of isolation can be especially disruptive.

Readjust schedules

Stores are closing; hospitals are overwhelmed; restaurants are changing hours and services. Because of this, it can be wise to discuss your loved one's schedule and make appropriate changes.

Changes could include:

  • Postponing non-essential doctor appointments
  • Canceling trips
  • Altering grocery shopping routines
  • Relocating exercise from a gym to inside the home
  • Ordering food delivery instead of eating out

These adjustments may be inconvenient, but they could ultimately make the difference between ending up with a severe illness and staying healthy.

Helping your parents and other older loved ones during this time can be tricky, but it is critical to check in on them, make sure they have what they need and help them cope with the challenges of self-isolation. 

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