Older Adults at Greater Risk of Complications from COVID-19
Older adults, especially those over age 80, are at greater risk of becoming critically ill or dying from COVID-19. Their immune systems are more fragile than children and younger adults, making them more vulnerable to complications from seasonal flu and other viruses, including the novel coronavirus.
United Church Homes is recommending steps residents and others can take to stay healthy during these unprecedented times. Education is the first line of defense.
While the current federal orders restricting visitation to skilled nursing and assisted living communities do not apply to independent living residences, we strongly advise friends and family to delay all non-essential visits until further notice to protect the health and safety of our vulnerable residents.
We have provided residents with the following tips that apply equally to older adults everywhere.
- Limit visitors. Remain at home except for necessary trips to the doctor, pharmacy or grocery store. Consider online grocery delivery or shop for an older neighbor or relative so they do not need to leave home.
- If you must go out, practice social distancing. Experts recommend keeping at least 6 feet away from other people to avoid spreading coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
- Call or video chat with your loved ones. Check in with friends and neighbors by phone. Keep in mind that isolation can lead to loneliness, so make sure you’re reaching out to your friends and loved ones during stressful times.
- If someone visits you with visible signs of illness, politely ask them to reschedule their visit.
- We have suspended onsite social and educational programs that involve nonresidents, and outside visitors are not permitted in independent living dining rooms until further notice.
- Visitors to our communities are asked to go directly to the resident’s apartment and remain there for the entire visit. Do not visit any common areas in the community and practice safe social distancing (no hugging, kissing, or shaking hands).
- Monitor for signs and symptoms of respiratory infection for at least 14 days after your visit. If symptoms do occur, please self-isolate at home, contact a healthcare provider and immediately notify our community of the date of your last visit, and whom you came in contact with while there.
Tips to Stay Healthy
There are steps we can all take to stay healthy from coronavirus and any other infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Call before going to a clinic or doctor’s office to confirm they want you to come in.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch services in your apartment or cottage daily. Remember to wipe down your phone and other electronics using an approved cleaning method.
- UCH staff members are disinfecting common areas and high touch surfaces several times daily.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol between washes.
- Make sure you have an updated emergency contact list.
For information about COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus. For information specific to Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634).