Protect Elderly Parents During Pandemic

Protect Elderly Parents
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By JIM MILLER

(SAVVY SENIOR) Public health specialists and the CDC have recommendations for keeping your elderly parents safe and healthy while they’re hunkered down at home, waiting for the pandemic to pass.

Know and follow the other CDC recommendations

Make sure you and your mom know and practice the CDC recommendations for older adults and those with compromised health conditions. You’re probably already familiar with some of their guidelines—like washing your hands and avoiding touching your face—but there are many other recommendations, and they’re constantly changing. For the complete list visit Coronavirus.gov. Click on “Older Adults & Medical Conditions.”

Have supplies on hand

Start by contacting your parents’ healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand for a prolonged period of time. If extra medications are not available that way, consider using mail-order for medications, to avoid having to go into a pharmacy.

Also, be sure your parents are stocked up with over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies, to treat fever and other symptoms.

Your parents should have enough groceries and household items on hand, so they can stay at home for an extended period of time. If  they need to restock supplies, online grocery delivery options are available, like Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Peapod, Target, COSTCO, and Walmart. A growing number of stores, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Dollar General and many others, offer early dedicated shopping times to vulnerable seniors, to reduce their risk of being exposed to the virus.

Home delivery meal programs can also help home-bound seniors—see MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org to locate one in your parents. Or, check out companies like Silver Cuisine or Mom’s Meals that deliver nutritious, pre-cooked meals to seniors that can be heated up in the microwave.

Use technology

For many seniors, social distancing can also lead to social isolation and loneliness, which is a common problem in the older population. If an elderly parent has a computer, tablet, or smartphone, they can stay connected to friends and relatives via videocalls through Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.

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Parents unfamiliar or uncomfortable with mainstream technology may rely on other solutions, like the GrandPad (GrandPad.net), which is a simplified 4G tablet designed for seniors 75 and older that allows one-touch video calls, email, and much more.

And for peace of mind, there are also check-in services, like Snug (SnugSafe.com), that send free daily check-ins to your an elder’s phone to confirm they are OK. If the person doesn’t respond, notifications are sent to their family contact.

Skip nonessential doctor appointments

Most public health experts are also recommending that seniors at risk cancel nonessential doctor’s appointments. If a elderly parent has a condition they feel should not be postponed, see if a telemedicine session, now covered by Medicare, would be an option.

Talk to caregivers

If an elderly parent uses a home health or home care service, that means a number of different aides may be coming through their door.

Be sure to talk to the agencies they use, or their aides, about hygiene. They should all be reminded to wash their hands or use hand gel sanitizer frequently. Any equipment they bring into your parents’s home should be wiped down with disinfectant. ISI

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of the book The Savvy Senior.

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