3 Ways To Care for the Elderly During COVID, According To The CDC

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: April 12, 2020

Aging is a part of life, and with it comes knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, it is also linked to a higher risk for COVID-19, especially when coupled with underlying medical conditions. We all know older adults - whether a parent, neighbor, or friend - who may need assistance during these times. Below are some guidelines from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help care for the elderly.
  1. Help Reduce the Risk. Speak with your loved ones to let them know that you care about their well-being. Ensure they are aware of the CDC recommendations and are equipped to follow them. This includes staying at home, if possible. Replace in-person visits with phone and video calls to ensure you stay connected. For groceries, offer to help them use contactless methods such as grocery delivery or curbside pickup services. Ensure they are washing their hands often, as well as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. If they have any concerns about COVID-19 or start exhibiting symptoms such as fever or cough, advise them to call their healthcare professional. For more information on what to do if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, click here.
  2. Help Cope with Stress. Reinforce that it is reasonable to feel stressed or anxious during these times. Let them know our community is in this together and helping each other manage stress. Remind them to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to pandemic-related news stories and social media. We may feel the news is all around us and is overwhelming. Instead, call them to talk about other topics they are interested in, encourage them to read a book, or schedule a virtual dinner together. Offer to connect with them regularly, whether it is through phone calls, video chat, or even just text messaging. This can ease the feeling of social isolation and provide an outlet to share emotions and concerns. Ensure they are taking care of their body, which can include deep breaths, stretching, healthy eating, and exercise. For some more ideas on how to cope with anxiety and stress, click here.
  3. Help Develop a Care Plan. To assist with this critical item, the CDC has a complete care plan available online. The care plan summarizes a person’s medical information and wishes. Ensure your loved one has it filled out to include their current medications, healthcare providers, emergency contacts, and end-of-life care options. People usually complete a care plan in consultation with their doctor, and if needed, with help from a family member. Ensure they share copies of their completed care plan with their doctor and family/friends. This preparation provides easily accessible, and vital information should the need arise.

Although these are trying times, there are still many ways for us to provide care and compassion to older adults. By following the guidelines above and helping each other, we improve the well-being of our communities. Together, we will get through this.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.