The more we learn about COVID-19, the clearer it becomes that the most vulnerable are people with chronic diseases—like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes—and older adults.

No one is immune to the coronavirus. That said, the information shows that your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. Now more than ever, we need to take steps to care for and protect our elderly loved ones.

Here’s how:
1. Remain calm

Stress can weaken the immune system, so do your best to put older adults in your care at ease. Try not to panic and just make sure to cover the basics. It may be a good idea—for you and for them—to take breaks from watching or listening to media coverage. Following non-stop news updates can be overwhelming.

2. Protect your own health

Just like in an emergency plane landing, the number one thing we can do to keep others safe is to protect ourselves first. Follow official guidelines by washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, keeping your hands away from your face, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.

3. Practice social distancing

It’s relatively easy to avoid contact with strangers, but what about practising social distancing inside of the household? Slow the spread among family members by washing your hands and clothes as soon as you get home, regularly disinfecting communal areas, and keeping physical affection to a minimum.

4. Limit visitors

The last thing you want is for your elderly loved one to start to feel isolated. That said, it’s best to limit all but essential visits. Encourage would-be visitors to rather maintain contact via the phone or video chats. When it comes to door-to-door delivery, most services are now offering a no-contact option.

5. Stick to a routine (as much as possible)

Maintaining a sense of normalcy—especially in such uncertain times—can act as a security blanket. Encourage your loved one/s to get up, get dressed, and make their bed (just like they would any other day).

6. Create healthy habits

Physical exercise, enough sleep, and a nutrient-rich diet are all factors linked to mental health and well-being. Getting outdoors is good for your immune system. If your loved one is hesitant to go outside, then open windows to encourage airflow. Support yourself and the ones you love by making self-care a priority right now.

7. Think ahead

The safest place for them to be is at home. Talk to their doctors about stocking up on prescription medicines and the option of at-home appointments.

8. Think outside the box

There’s no better time than the present to get lost in a world of online entertainment. Think audiobooks, podcasts, and streaming services like Netflix. If your loved one is more old-fashioned, then encourage them to keep busy by catching up on their reading list, playing a board game, or building a puzzle.

9. Stay informed

Get your news and information from sources you can trust, like South Africa’s official COVID-19 portal and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

10. Live-in caregiver

It may be time to start thinking about self-quarantine with your elderly loved one. That, or making arrangements for a live-in caregiver. Home care agencies, like CareChamp, agree it’s the safest way right now to care for the elderly.

Give CareChamp a call (+27 87 944 6299) or email them (care@carechamp.co.za) for more information.

About Carechamp

CareChamp provides a platform for connecting the elderly, people with disabilities, and post-op patients with trusted, reliable home caregivers, registered nurses, and companions. They also offer short-term care for when a caregiver or family member needs a break or is unavailable. CareChamp’s Head Office is in Cape Town but they provide quality care to homes throughout South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and Port Elizabeth).