Taking Care of Senior Citizens: COVID-19 Pandemic

The current global pandemic has caused major disruption across the globe, and left many Americans in difficult situations. But the most at-risk age group are senior citizens and particularly those with existing health conditions, many of who are currently living in self-isolation.

So how can we take care of our parents, grandparents, and the senior citizens in our community at this difficult time? It is important to remember first and foremost not to contaminate the space of, or have physical contact with, anyone in the most at-risk groups. But there are lots of other things you can do to provide advice and support.

Health Precautions 

If you are taking care of a senior citizen – either living with them, or delivering food, medicines or other support, it is very important to take care of your own health and follow strict precautions. Wash your hands frequently, and certainly before and after coming into contact with another person, or when touching objects that someone else will use. If you’re preparing food for someone else, wash your hands carefully and wear a clean mask if possible.

Avoid crowds and confined spaces with other people wherever possible, keep your hands away from your face, and carefully dispose of used tissues. If you can use a different bathroom from an at-risk person, this is advised. Clean frequently-touched surfaces in your home often, including mobility and medical equipment used by your loved one, such as walkers, canes and handrails.

Financial Support

The COVID-19 epidemic has left many people out of work and struggling financially. As a result, the government has issued a universal stimulus check to supplement incomes in this difficult period. To receive your check, you need to have registered your taxes for 2018, or be paying tax through your work.

But many people have been asking: will senior citizens receive a stimulus check? A comprehensive answer to this question can be found through the link in blue. But generally speaking, senior citizens should be eligible to receive this financial support. If someone you care for needs to claim this money, you can check their eligibility through the IRS website. This check can be used to pay for rent, supplies, or anything else you might need. So it can be a vital lifeline for a vulnerable person. You can help make sure your loved ones are eligible to receive it.

Socialising and Emotional Support

Social distancing shouldn’t mean anyone feels isolated or lonely. It is important to encourage loved ones and senior citizens in your community to find safe ways to receive emotional support and socialise safely. This could mean daily phone calls with friends, family, and other isolated members of the community. You can also find ways to connect online, with faith groups, hobby groups, and other supportive communities. Help set up video calls and introduce any technology which might help them feel connected.

If you suspect someone might be isolated on their own, you can post a card through the letterbox with your phone number, and offer to pick up groceries or medicines, or just to have a chat if they’re feeling lonely. But be extremely careful to do so safely – wash your hands, don’t have physical contact, and clean anything you are leaving for them.

The Institute on Aging also offers a Friendship Line, for senior citizens to call in a crisis, and provide support and advice when needed.

This is a difficult time for everyone. But senior citizens are particularly at risk, and may be more isolated. Taking care of an older loved one is also a great way to keep yourself busy and feeling connected. So do whatever you can to help.