Due to their age and compromised immune systems, seniors are at higher risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The danger is even greater during a worldwide pandemic. If you’re 60 years of age or older and suffer from chronic health conditions like heart disease, respiratory problems, cancer, or diabetes, it’s vital you protect yourself against life-threatening diseases like COVID-19. According to data from the Centers from Disease Control, seniors are twice as likely to experience severe cases of coronavirus in comparison to younger adults. When it comes to COVID, protecting yourself from infection could very well save your life.
Why are Seniors at Greater Risk of COVID-19?
Your immune health plays an important role in keeping you healthy. As you age, your immune system weakens, making it less effective in fighting off sickness and disease. If you also struggle with chronic health issues, chances are your body isn’t strong enough to cope with diseases like COVID-19.
COVID tends to attack the upper and lower respiratory system, making it difficult for people to breathe. In seniors, there’s a greater danger of the lungs or respiratory system failing, putting you at risk of losing your battle to the disease.
Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
The best way to evade COVID and its devastating effects are to avoid exposure to the disease. Taking these steps can drastically reduce your risk of being exposed to COVID:
If you don’t need to go out in public, don’t. Stay home within a controlled environment that offers you greater safety from infectious diseases. The less contact you have with others, the less risk you have of contracting COVID-19 and other diseases. If you opt to stay home, here are a few ways you can handle essential tasks:
- Shopping. Shop online for your food, household supplies, and other necessities and have them brought to your home via contactless delivery. This includes canned foods, bottled water, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries, pet food (if you have a pet), medications, and other needs.
- Home visits. Only receive visitors (usually close friends or family) who you know are healthy. It’s best to avoid children, however, as they could be asymptomatic carriers.
- Doctor visits. If feasible, cancel nonessential appointments with your doctor. Take advantage of telemedicine to speak to a doctor when necessary or when you must renew prescription medications.
- Home health aides. If you receive regular visits from home health aides, make sure they follow CDC guidelines when it comes to wearing masks and cleanliness. Any equipment they use should be disinfected to prevent contagion. They should also be in peak health to avoid spreading sickness.
- Healthy habits. Maintain healthy habits like getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a balanced and nutritious diet. Even though you’re staying home, you can still enjoy walks around your neighborhood or to nearby parks as long as you wear a mask and social distance. Gym visits and contact sports are out, but you can do workout or dance videos at home to get the exercise you need. Yard work, yoga, tai chi, weight lifting (carefully), home improvements, or deep cleaning can also provide you with exercise opportunities during the pandemic. Staying active can help keep you healthy longer.
- Alcohol use. If you’re used to drinking alcoholic beverages, there’s nothing wrong with continuing your traditions during the pandemic. Be leery, however, of abusing this privilege as it can weaken your health and make you more susceptible to infectious diseases. Drinking to relieve the stress and pressures of coronavirus could, over time, lead to alcohol dependency or addiction. If you find yourself in this situation, get help through programs that offer alcohol abuse treatment.
About the author: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, alcoholic treatment programs, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.