Protecting Seniors’ Health And Wellbeing During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The threat of COVID-19 demands prompt and effective action from everyone. With strict social distancing measures, many people continue to suffer from the disruption of ordinary life.

Senior citizens are at even higher risk, especially as the novel coronavirus infection leads to higher mortality rates for older people. Hence, families should know how to protect their seniors’ health and well-being despite all the uncertainty surrounding them right now.

Know The Situation

Understanding the capabilities of COVID-19, especially for the elderly, is key to formulating strategies to protect them from the illness.

COVID-19 causes flu-like symptoms, but it is several times more fatal than the common flu. Many infections progress to pneumonia, which is when fluid accumulation happens in the lungs. When this condition occurs, people require admission to a hospital. Even with intensive care, significant numbers of people who develop pneumonia eventually succumb to the coronavirus illness.

A particular characteristic that makes COVID-19 dangerous is that it targets older people. Senior parents generally have weaker immune systems than the rest of the population. Many senior citizens also have pre-existing medical conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes. These factors make them more likely to catch the disease and more likely to progress to severe illness.

COVID-19 is infectious. Respiratory droplets that sick people release from coughing and sneezing can travel several feet and easily infect others. The illness has an incubation period that can last for two weeks, and some people fail to develop any symptoms despite being infectious. Hence, people can readily transmit the coronavirus without realizing that anything is wrong.

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Minimize Transmission

Given that the elderly are at considerable risk, you should take steps to isolate them from any potential sources of the virus. Social distancing is an effective way to suppress transmission. Everyone in the house, including the non-elderly, should refrain from unnecessary exposure with other people. Be sure to delegate necessary tasks, such as grocery shopping, to younger people in the household.

Even if seniors are not directly exposed, they can still catch the infection if someone else in the house gets sick. Hence, everyone should practice good hygiene habits. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Wear good-fitting masks, especially when going outside.

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Avoid accommodating visitors into your home. Even family members should minimize unnecessary contact with senior members of the household. The elderly need to self-isolate even at home. According to Dr. Samir Sinha, MD, “their greatest risk is when people come to visit them.”

Plan Ahead

To reduce the need to go outside, make plans in advance. Maintain an inventory of necessary items such as food and drinks. Buy in larger quantities whenever you go out so that you can reduce the frequency of trips.

If senior members of your family require maintenance medication, prioritize procurement for these items.

Maintain a small but significant inventory, since drugstore closures and other events can make it impossible to buy medicines for days at a time. Check drugs for quality and dispose of those that are already beyond their expiration date. Avoid hoarding; this action makes it harder for everyone else to get what they need, and it increases the risk of medication wastage.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Isolation is not an excuse to forgo healthy habits. In particular, senior citizens will be at higher risk if they stop eating healthily and exercising. Regular physical activity and appropriate diets are necessary to keep their immune systems healthy, which will help protect older people from the coronavirus.

It can be challenging to be physically active while stuck indoors, but it’s not impossible. Consider dances or even strenuous household chores.

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Just be mindful that senior parents may not be able to complete some movements, especially if they have orthopedic problems. Keep an eye on them to avoid the risk of injury. If your elderly family members sustain an injury, you might have a hard time finding a healthcare center that can accommodate them.

Don’t Forget Social Interaction

Social distancing doesn’t mean that grandparents have to go through the day alone. Social interaction is a dominant contributor to mental health, especially during pandemics. In particular, technology can allow anyone to remain in touch with relatives and friends.

Make sure to devote some time to help seniors master how to use tools like messaging apps and video chat software. It can take some time, especially since older people are not digital natives, but most people eventually become proficient with technology.

It’s tough, but social distancing measures demand great sacrifices. However, these methods are here to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19. More than ever, senior citizens need love and support during these difficult times, so be there for them.

How To Keep Our Seniors Safe At Home

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The 2017 Senior Care Conference was a collaborative event sponsored by post-acute care associations, senior care, and skilled nursing facilities. The event was graced by a seasoned keynote speaker who believed that there was and will always be hope for a great future in the United States, including the seniors and their retirement years. The elderly are among America’s significant populations that also need attention, especially since most of them will live in senior living facilities. But for seniors who want to live in their homes, there was also a discussion about evaluating their needs in the home, some of which will be reviewed here.

Keeping Our Seniors Safe At Home

It is quite understandable why some seniors still prefer to live in their own homes, even as they move further into old age. A home is one’s solace where we are comfortable, relaxed, and at peace. But for the elderly, they must be provided with additional assistance within the premises of her home. Eventually, however, as they grow much older, living alone in their homes may no longer be possible for them.

The primary variable that needs to be evaluated is the home layout and condition.

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  • Meals. Assess if the senior is still capable of cooking or eating healthy food.
  • Driving. Know if he still drives or if he has someone reliable to call and drive for him when he needs to buy something or go somewhere.
  • Risk of falls. Check the major spaces in his home, like the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. Check for hazards and make sure that these hazards are eliminated to keep them safe.
  • Mental capacity. Ask him simple to complex questions and evaluate if he is answering with sense. Evaluating cognitive function is very important.
  • Emergency planning. Ensure that the senior knows how to call for help and has a list of emergency numbers that he can call. Also, it would be better if there is someone he can call in emergency cases.

 

 

Topics To Talk About When Visiting A Senior Parent

Having a senior parent requires you to become more patient and understanding.  “The responsibility of providing care for an aging or ill loved one is a challenge in its own right,” says Carol Bradley Bursack. There are many things that you have to consider when it comes to dealing with an old parent. One of these is his interest in knowing about the latest updates in your life. This is why you have to make it a habit to visit him on a regular basis. Do not let a week pass without coming over to your parent’s house or visiting him in a senior care facility. Below are some of the topics that he would love to discuss and talk about:

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Can A Senior Parent Try Online Therapy?

Have you noticed that your senior parent has become sadder or lonelier? Do you experience the effects of his constant mood swings? Do you want to help him get over depression? If you answered yes to all these, then you came across the right article. In this write-up, we are going to discuss depression in older individuals as well as the available methods on how to deal with it.

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Live With A Senior Parent: Is This The Right Decision? 

“As your parents age you will feel a wide range of emotions,” says Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP. Many questions come to mind when it comes to taking good care of one’s elderly parent, some of which include identifying the proper living arrangements for them as well as looking into their finances. Unfortunately, this becomes challenging especially if you already have a family of your own. In this article, we are going to look into the different tips on how you could handle the necessity of having an elderly parent live with you. Be sure to remember these: 

 

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Psychiatry: Can Seniors Have Mental Health Issues?

 

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The National Institute of Mental Health published a study claiming that around 20 percent of seniors experience mental health issues or problems. “Mental wellness however, requires some effort, in the same way physical health does,” says Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. The same research also revealed that two out of three adults are lucky enough to receive treatment. This is alarming, which is why it is essential for people to be aware of mental illness in the elderly.

 

Below are some of the common signs or symptoms of mental health disorder for parents:

 

  1. Sudden Loss Of Appetite

Take note that seniors are not fond of having a high food intake on a daily basis. This is usually the case most importantly when the old persons involved already have food restrictions for health reasons. It is only normal to see that your elderly parent is starting to be picky about what he eats. However, once he starts to lose appetite for days, it can be an indication that he is suffering from depression or anxiety.

 

 

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 Constant Mood Swings

When seniors age, there is a high possibility that they suddenly become short tempered. They will have mood swings most of the time, because of the several problems or issues that they encounter as they age. But if you notice that your senior parent’s mood swings have lasted for at least two weeks, then maybe it is about time to see a psychiatrist for him.

 

  1. Thoughts Of Suicide

Listen to what your parent says whenever you have a conversation. Always go in between the lines to fully understand what he is saying. He may be going through a difficult phase in his life. Be sure that you are aware of this. Always keep in mind that suicidal thoughts are not typical. You need to take it seriously. Whenever your parent mentions it, the best thing to do is to find ways to improve his mental health. Do more things that could make him happy.

 

  1. Difficulty In Sleeping

Another common symptom for depressed individuals is difficulty in sleeping. If your parent starts to wake up in the middle of the night for consecutive days, then it could be a sign that something is bothering him. If this situation continues to take place for a long period, then there is a high chance that he is suffering from depression.

 

 

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Conclusion

Several factors can cause mental health issues in seniors. It could be brought about by problems in family life, relationships with others and finances.  Once you discover that your old parent has developed a mental disorder, the smart thing to do is find professional help. As much as possible, look for a medical doctor or psychiatrist who could look into the case of your parent.

“Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy all the time, but rather, that you’re self-aware and able to shift as a way to feel better,” said Diana Raab Ph.D.

 

Avoid making rash decisions when it comes to finding a therapist or psychiatrist to help your senior parent. “It is important, when looking for someone to help with your problems, to get recommendations from people you trust, to interview several different therapists, to ask about their training, and finally, to trust your instinct,” according to F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. Be sure to conduct the necessary research to avoid choosing the wrong health professional. As much as possible, exert some efforts to ask for referrals or recommendations. Remember that this issue must be taken seriously at all times.

 

 

The Ultimate Guide To Handling Divorce Of Old Parents

Are your parents planning to get a divorce after thirty or forty years of marriage?

A marriage falling apart after such a long duration isn’t about a lack of commitment. Instead, the dedication to staying together is what allowed the marriage to last as long as it did. Yet society vilifies the desolation. Instead of understanding and compassion for the long-suffering, insensitive remarks are made about the character of those who decide to divorce.Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Do you find it heartbreaking or difficult to move on from their separation? Do you wonder what took them so long to decide that they want to end the relationship? If yes, then this article is what you need to read right now. We may not have the answers to the questions that you are looking for, but we can give you a list of things to do so that you could handle the divorce of your senior parents.

Children of divorce often experience expectations of failure, fear of loss or abandonment and fear of conflict throughout their lives. These anxieties are reflected in their romantic relationships by poor partner or behavior choices, giving up too quickly when problems arise or avoidance of any perceived level of commitment. – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Lesli Doares

 

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Top Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Seniors 

Did you know that accidents are common to seniors? Are you aware that old individuals are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses compared to the young ones? The reason behind this is simple: as a person grows old, his health becomes complicated. Because of this, there is a high possibility that he would not be able to enjoy the full functions of his senses. As such, the likelihood of the occurrence of accidents and injuries is high.

According to Jennifer M. Bottomley, PhD, MS, PT, president of the geriatrics section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and adviser to the surgeon general, “one of the main things that brings older people to the physical therapist is a fall. “They want and need to maintain their independence,” she says.

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What Are The Challenges In Senior Marriages?

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No matter how much two persons care and love each other, there will always come a time wherein surviving the relationship becomes a struggle. “Marriage undergoes stress as a couple becomes elderly, partly because “the goals of middle age are gone,” Erlene Rosowsky, Psy.D. Experiencing hardships in a marriage is only normal, especially if the couple has been together for a long time already. This is the primary reason why there are more challenges in senior marriages. Most of the time, problems in the marriage arise when either of the parties is already in his or her senior year. As such, do not be shocked to realize that your parents’ marriage has changed now that they are already seniors.

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What To Do When Senior Parents Could Not Get Along

Are you aware that senior couples are more likely to have arguments compared to the young or newly wedded spouses? “The responsibility of providing care for an aging or ill loved one is a challenge in its own right,” says Carol Bradley Bursack, an expert in handling senile people. This does not come off as a surprise especially when we know that old individuals tend to have more complicated issues than those coming from the new generation. As such, do not be shocked if you will find out that your mom and dad could not get along very well. Take note that old age necessarily involves health complications which make them feel anxious, stressed or irritable most of the time. “Dealing with a stubborn parent is not the same as dealing with a stubborn child. Older people should be autonomous,” says Robert Kane, M.D.

 

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