taking care of elderly family members during COVID-19
We’ve gathered for you the best practices for taking care of your ederly family members, as suggested by Alicia Arbaje, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.B – specialist in internal medicine and geriatrics at Johns Hopkins.

Keep yourself well

The same way you’re always asked to put on your mask first before you take care of anyone else during the safety measures presentation when boarding a plane, you need to make sure you stay healthy to be able to provide proper care for your loved ones.

Make sure you:

  • Wash your hands frequently with for at least 20 seconds with water and soap. It’s important to do it frequently, but using mild detergents – otherwise your skin might get irritated or even hurt. Soaps without scent and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) will be best.
  • Avoid crowds, and if you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow or into a disposable tissue.
  • Keep your hands away from your face.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces in your home often, including mobility and medical equipment used by your loved one, such as walkers, canes and handrails.

Physical but not social distancing

The term “social distancing” we got used to is actually wrong – we should keep our distance physically, but engage as much as we can in social activitites.

Dr Arbaje says, “Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation or loneliness. We need to keep older adults safe, but also keep in mind that social isolation can have a negative impact on older people’s immunity and mental health.”


Use modern technology to stay connected

Try calling them as much as you can, checking in on their physical and mental status. InfOK can be your helpful companion in making sure you don’t forget about it in your busy daily schedule. It will automatically send a text message asking your loved one if they’re doing OK. They can very easily reply confirming they’re doing fine or that they need you to call them.


Keep elders involved

Find ways for them to be occupied – going through old photos or memorabilia together, organizing an online cooking show, where they share how they prepare your favorite meals. You might find vEvents platform very useful for that – it’s easy to host a private event there and share it quickly with your family. No download necessary – just a link share. Unlike other platforms it offers you unlimited options to enjoy your family time physically distances, but socially engaged.


Minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection

Make sure you postpone all the unnecessary doctor’s appointments and avoid travel. However ome elders have a very important relationship with their doctors and need to be in constant touch with them due to their chronic illness. In that case make sure they have a form of an easy on-line connection, to avoid face-to-face meetings.


Make a plan

Take into consideration that COVID-19 disruption can last for a long time and plan new routines and solutions to possible problems that occur along the way. Make sure you have outlined the steps to follow when any of you gets sick – it’s much easier to arrange it ahead of time, without the stressful circumstances.


Inspired by article from Hopkins Medicine

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