Geriatric Care Manager, Diane Dennis gave tips on how to keep seniors safe at home during COVID-19. Click here for more information about Diane.
These Due to the pandemic many more seniors are more isolated, vulnerable and afraid. Their regular doctor visits have been cancelled.Due to the pandemic many more seniors are more isolated, vulnerable and afraid. Their regular doctor visits have been cancelled. Many non- life threatening procedures have been postponed, maybe indefinitely. Family cannot safely drop in to check on them.
1.Health Safety – Common Preventative Health Care Strategies
a.Are they getting enough fluid? Why? Dehydration can lead to serious health problems. Urinary Tract Infections can cause delirium, fever, confusion. (unchecked, they can end up in the hospital)
b.Are they getting enough Fiber and good nutrition? Why? Lack of fiber can lead to obstruction, which can lead to hospitalization. Poor diet from missing meals or lack of appetite can cause weakness, and poor medication delivery. (Prepared meals can be delivered) Meals on Wheels.
c.Know if they are on a special diet for diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and other illness require certain restrictions like sodium, sugars, or fat. Make sure grocery shopping or prepared meals follow doctor’s guidelines.
d.If they have dementia or forgetfulness, make sure they are taking medications properly. Why? Taking medication not as prescribed can either exacerbate a condition or create new health problems. Set up meds in a med box (can be purchased at drug stores or online). Fill their med boxes and call daily to make sure they are taking as prescribed.
e.Many pharmacies are now delivering medications directly to the home.
2.Isolation – Communication
a.Isolation can cause confusion, depression and poor eating or behavioral problems. Get on a daily call schedule. Ask how they are feeling. Most likely they are afraid of getting the virus and know they are the most vulnerable for getting very ill
b.Ask open ended questions like ‘How are you feeling?’ They might say they are ‘Afraid of getting sick, or dying’. Let them express their fears and explore their feelings. This is the opportune time to discuss mortality, end of life wishes, and their spirituality.
c.Set them up on Zoom or FaceTime so you can ‘see’ how they are doing. If they cannot set this up from their home, use a trusted IT guy to remote in and set it up.
a.Financial: Make sure you discuss not giving their CC over the phone as fraudulent calls can increase during this time. Seniors are most vulnerable for these crimes. Teach safe computer skills.
b.Physical: Movement decreases the chances of circulatory problems, cardiovascular, weakness, and falls from occurring. Falling is a common issue for seniors. Falling and accidents can lead to hospitalization. Has their home been reviewed for fall risks? If not make sure throw rugs are taken out, they are wearing good non slip shoes, and they have a shower chair, raised toilet seat and grab bars. Adaptive devices for home safety can be easily purchased and installed. Home health agencies provide this service.
c.AARP has easy exercises for seniors they can do from a chair or in their homes.
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