An Essential Guide for the Elderly
With the country under a strict nationwide lockdown to combat the aggravating Coronavirus crisis, the elderly happen to be the most vulnerable section of the population. Not only do they stand higher chances of contracting the dangerous infection, but the chances of recovery have also been found to be comparatively lower among senior citizens globally.
The only way for our elderly to steer clear of COVID-19 is to stay indoors and strictly adhere to the social distancing protocols. At the same time, this mandatory self-isolation can also lead to boredom, depression, anxiety, and, in some cases, even aggravation of health issues.
Here is a comprehensive checklist for ensuring that the elderly in your lives stay hale and hearty amid this unprecedented crisis.
Needless to say, safety tops the list to rule out the susceptibility of our beloved seniors towards any kind of infection or indoor health hazards.
Washing hands frequently, maintaining the 20-second rule as well as regular use of hand sanitizers is a must.
Keeping all necessary medicines and groceries stocked up for about a month is highly recommended. For instance, a 75-year-old diabetic patient we know has kept a section of his fridge dedicated to bulk dosages of insulin.
Heading out of the home is a strict no-no, even if it is for basic groceries or medicines. Instead, one can opt for certain care services in different cities, who are volunteering to deliver rations and other essentials to the doorstep of senior citizens. Though most of them assure contactless delivery, it is always better to step out in masks and gloves while bringing in the packages.
Also, the vegetables, fruits, and food packages should be washed thoroughly before storage and cooking.
Emergencies can arise anytime and reaching the hospital on time can prove to be a problem. The following points should be kept in mind for such a situation:
Shortlist one or two people, ideally in your locality, that you can call upon for help in case of emergency.
Community driven initiatives are also being activated to help the seniors in such scenarios and police also provide permission to people trying to reach their elderly family members for any urgent cases. In such a case, a travel pass can be availed for 10 people including family members and near ones. Find out how.
Popular cab aggregators like Uber, Ola are keeping their vehicles available for emergency services. Contact someone who can attend to you immediately in case of an unforeseen situation.
If you are someone quarantined abroad while your parents are staying alone back home, make sure you have a local point of contact at their behest. Keep all emergency service numbers like the nearest hospital, ambulance service, and their consulting doctors’ contacts handy to prevent any delay.
Call the Prayojana 24 x 7 Helpline for Senior Citizens
Here’s also a list of helplines set up by individuals in Chennai, for area-specific emergencies especially for the elderly:
Diet & Exercise
There are certain easily available options that a senior citizen should include in their diet for boosting immunity at such times.
Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, kiwi, guava, papaya, lemon etc are nice to have on the plate, while the diet should ideally include healthy carbs that include grains, fruits and vegetables, some fat and high on proteins. Variety in a time like this can be helpful. So purchasing three-four types of fruits across the week is better than having just one banana a day
For vegetarians, lentils, legumes, soybean, Rajma and all kinds of pulses are great sources of protein. Pre-soaking legumes before cooking thoroughly and spreading their consumption through the day is a good practice.
Non-vegetarians should not be swayed by myths about meat and poultry causing COVID-19 infection, but at the same time, it must be ensured that the items are cooked properly in high heat for a considerable time, to be on the safer side.
Nuts and edible seeds are a great source of Vitamin-E which takes care of the overall well-being. Hundreds of recipes can be accessed online if one wishes to be a little adventurous with the palate, but we are pretty sure our grandmothers themselves possess treasure troves of culinary secret.
The evening stroll in the park or the morning jog around the blog might be impossible at the moment, so the elderly should opt for smaller workouts at home instead. Especially for people with diabetes or hypertension, a short daily workout, even if it is just a brisk walk, is necessary along with the regular medication.
Yoga and Pranayam are another great way of keeping the health meter on the finer side. Practicing yoga together with one’s spouse can also be an excellent way of bonding and reconnecting.
Making the best
of the quarantine
Staying indoors for a long period can prove to be mentally taxing, especially for the people who love socializing with their neighbors, families and friends regularly. For most of the elderly citizens, this might be a never-before situation in their lifetime, hence, having stress and anxiety is not abnormal.
Engagement is the key to take care of mental health in these trying times. Television might be an easy way to spend time but focusing on negativity all over the news can be detrimental to one’s well-being. Fixing up a daily schedule with specific slots of watching the TV or browsing the internet will be more helpful.
Board games like scrabble, chess, crossword, Monopoly, puzzles etc. are a brilliant way to spend time amidst fun, laughter and brainstorming.
Meditation is an excellent way to function positively throughout the day. Positive thinking and engaging in positive conversations will help sail through the crisis smoothly.
Reading books, listening to music, gardening, knitting and other creative hobbies like painting or handicrafts are the classic ways out of boredom and long hours.
If you are an individual abroad with elderly parents staying alone, it is advised that you make regular video calls or phone calls with them and try to keep their spirits high. Also, make sure to assure them that you are always by their side, no matter the distance or circumstances. We are there to step-in in any case.
Living through the lockdown can be a struggle for the elderly, but, at the end of the day, this too shall pass.
To know more about Prayojana's Specialised In-Home Services for the elderly, please contact us.
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