With the holidays upon us, the biggest threat to our health is another wave of COVID-19 cases. We already know our generation is the most vulnerable. Surging coronavirus figures across the world are providing what one senior health official has called “a wake-up call,” with the impact of an imminent second wave beginning to be felt.
Health experts warn seniors and their caregivers to prepare to face the threat of two viruses at once this winter.
Get a flu shot. Anyone who will be around a senior this winter – caregivers, grandchildren, houseguests et al – should make it a priority to get their flu shot and other recommended vaccines.
Schedule routine appointments now. For dental visits, auto maintenance, tech re-pairs and the like, get essential ones done ASAP or put them off until spring.
Decide on a contingency plan. You’re taking every precaution, but unexpected things can crop up. It’s important to have a backup plan because it’s always harder to make sound and reasonable decisions in a panic state. Understanding what a trip to the ER might entail, for example, is essential.
Gather important information. Keep important information close at hand, such as medication names, doses and instructions, pharmacy or prescription mail delivery service phone numbers, and utility providers and accounts.
Make plans to stay connected. In the era of COVID-19, technology is crucial. If digital literacy is a challenge, seniors should get help now setting up devices and learning how to do remote tech support.
Practice self-care. Given the challenges this winter might pose, experts agree protecting mental health will be crucial for both seniors and caregivers. Self-care might look different from one person to the next, but experts say it generally includes getting enough rest, exercising and eating healthy foods to boost your mental and physical outlook.
Sources: The Huffington Post, Univision.com, ctinsider.com, care.com, AARP
Al Brandenburg is director of the Maricopa Senior Coalition.
This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa magazine.