International Day of Older Persons, celebrated on October 1 each year, creates awareness about mental and physical health issues affecting the elderly and the abuses they face. The event also highlights their contributions to our society. The present Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but primarily the elderly. On the occasion of this International Day for Older Persons, we discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on the elderly and how we can keep them safe during the pandemic.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON THE ELDERLY
Senior citizens are most vulnerable to the Coronavirus as most of them have are chronically affected by several diseases due to ageing. Their impaired immune systems put them at risk of serious complications from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Unvaccinated elderly people are more likely to get hospitalised from the disease or die.
In addition to the illness, the elderly are also at risk from psychological impacts as they depend on others for their wellbeing. Isolation and distance from family members due to the Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide have caused anxiety among the ageing population. Many are physically disabled or cannot use transport on their own to acquire daily necessities or visit the doctor.
HOW TO KEEP SENIOR CITIZENS SAFE DURING COVID-19
There are a number of ways in which we can ensure that the elderly stay safe during the present pandemic and remain stress-free.
Those who are caregivers of the elderly need to ensure they keep themselves healthy and safe, first.
Caregivers should frequently wash hands with soap and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
Caregivers should also get themselves vaccinated.
They should wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent accidentally transmitting the disease to those in their care.
The elderly should also receive the vaccines as soon as possible.
They should be kept informed about proper updates regarding the pandemic in order to avoid misinformation or panic.
Caregivers should ensure essential supplies like medicines are always available, especially in case of emergencies.
They should keep emergency helpline numbers handy as well.
Family members and caregivers should provide company and emotional support to the elderly through routine interactions and communication. This will ensure they remain happy and stress-free.