Senior Health

3/20/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine. Most of us didn’t expect to hear these terms used so much this spring. But, suddenly, the world is in the middle of an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Many of us are staying home as much as possible, distancing ourselves from other people in the hopes of slowing the spread of the disease – all great ways to staying healthy during COVID-19.

COVID-19 seems even more dangerous for people over 65 and anyone with underlying health issues, so many of us are being extra cautious. While avoiding other people might be the best way to stay healthy right now, it’s not always possible. Here are 10 tips for staying healthy during COVID-19 outbreak, whether you’re in your home or out in the community.

1. Stay home if possible

Most events, classes, meetings, and church services have been cancelled for the time being. If you have loved ones in a nursing home or hospital, check the facility’s current visitation policy before visiting; you may have to stay in touch with loved ones via phone right now. Check all businesses’ hours and policies before heading out for necessary trips, including medical appointments. This situation changes every day, and all organizations are having to adjust.

2. Wash your hands often, and use hand sanitizer as well

A quick rinse won’t get the job done, though. To be thorough, you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub between all of your fingers, the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and your wrists. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing, and after touching surfaces that might collect and carry germs, like computer keyboards, phones, and TV remotes.

Gel-based hand sanitizer, as long as it’s at least 60% alcohol, is a good substitute for hand washing, if you don’t have access to soap and water. It is in high demand right now, though, so if you can’t find any, you can even make your own. The World Health Organization’s formula for hand sanitizer is two parts 99 percent isopropyl alcohol to one part aloe vera gel.

3. Wear a mask

It’s not political, it’s safe. And it’s a sign of respect. Masks are one of the safest (and, not to mention, easiest) tools for preventing the spread of the virus. And no, they will not make you sicker.

4. Wipe down surfaces, including phones and TV remotes

The coronavirus can live on surfaces from a few hours to over a week, depending on conditions. To avoid spreading germs, disinfect objects and surfaces that many people in your home might touch. If you’re worried about using disinfecting wipes on your smart phone, you should know that Apple has declared it safe to wipe down the exterior surfaces of your phone with a 70% isopropyl wipe. Don’t use bleach, though, and avoid getting moisture in any openings.

5. Don’t touch your face

Hands can pick up viruses, which can then enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoiding your face is one of the easiest ways for staying healthy during COVID-19.

6. Practice social distancing

If you do have to leave home and be around people, try to stay at least 6 feet away from them. This reduces the risk that someone’s sneeze or cough infects you. If you’re sick (and can’t stay home), make sure to sneeze or cough into a tissue and throw it away.

7. Avoid crowds

While many “non-essential” gatherings have been canceled, you may still have to shop for groceries or get prescriptions filled. If you’re over 60, check to see if your local store has implemented a special time for seniors to shop. Because COVID-19 seems to be more serious—and lethal—to seniors, some stores like Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Dollar General, and Target are reserving time for seniors to shop, usually the first open hour of the morning.

8. Avoid touching surfaces with your fingertips

Use a knuckle to press an elevator button, or use your arm instead of your palm to steady yourself on a handrail. You’re less likely to touch your face later with a body part other than your fingertip.

9. Don’t browse with your hands

If you’re at the grocery store or pharmacy, just try to touch as few things as possible. Browse with your eyes instead, and only touch items you intend to buy.

10. Go cashless

Use your debit or credit card instead of paying with cash. The cashier won’t have to handle your cash, and you won’t have to handle cash that’s been in someone else’s wallet, the register, the cashier’s hands, and then into your hands. Punch in your PIN with a knuckle or make sure to wash or sanitize your hands after using the PIN pad.

It can be difficult to keep staying healthy during COVID-19 – but it is possible, especially if you’re careful!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff