By Dr Behram Pardiwala
Internal medicine expert Wockhardt Hospital Mumbai Central
Older people may be worried as they are more likely to get infected with Coronavirus. Hence, they need attention and support of the family.
COVID-19 is the virus that causes respiratory disease and in serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia. If one exhibits symptoms such as respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties then he/she may suffer from Coronavirus. More severe cases of COVID-19 can also cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure. These symptoms can be particularly dangerous for elderly patients or people with existing health conditions. This is so because the immunity of older people may weaken as they age.
The elderly may need a helping hand and they also often need to have people around them. They may have existing comorbidities and recoveries are usually slower and more complicated. They may panic and get anxious as well. Thus, here the role of the family is important in helping them stay in top shape.
Here’s how you can support and lend a helping hand to the senior citizens
· Senior citizens should eat healthily and strengthen their immune system. See to it that you avoid binge eating while at home, and only stick to healthy eating. Say no to junk food as that can take a toll on your health. Go for green leafy vegetables, whole grain foods such as nuts and seeds, and a whole range of fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly for things like Vitamin C.
· Check on them from time to time. Speak to them and allow them to open up about their feelings. Cook for them, bring groceries for them and spend some quality time with the seniors.
· Ensure that you stock up all the medical supplies for your elders. Do not allow them to venture out of the house or come in contact with people who are sick. Make sure that even they follow the social distancing norms and use masks.
· Look for any changes that occur in the elderly as they can also suffer from allergies and infections. Monitor their temperature, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure at home. Check whether they take medications on time. Encourage them to wash their hands from time to time. If need be, stay in touch with the doctor via teleconsultation or video consultation.
· Encourage the elderly people to stay in contact with friends and relatives via calls or video.
· Help them to do light exercises at home. This is so because immobility can invite joint problems.
· Help the elderly people to stay occupied by introducing them to activities such as reading, puzzle-solving, crossword, Ludo, meditation, or listening to music. You can also play indoor games like carrom and chess with your elders.
· Keep your surroundings clean and help the elderly maintain good personal hygiene.