How to Best Protect Yourself as the Pandemic Continues

protect yourself

It’s pretty safe to say it’s been a few very long years for everyone across the globe, thanks to COVID-19. And though it might seem that the worst is over, we’ve seen variants of the original virus pop up just when we thought we had seen the worst of it. Viruses mutate – that’s an enormous aspect of what allows them to survive – and so COVID-19 will continue to change as time goes on.

That means that we must continue to protect ourselves, even if it seems that the worst is truly over. This is especially true for the elderly. Just as seniors are at higher risk of falls and medical issues that can lead to the need for an emergency button alarm, they are also at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Pandemic Risks Remain High for the Elderly

In many states and localities across the United States, the rules for protection against COVID-19 are loosening for healthy adults, especially those who are vaccinated. But that doesn’t mean that the dangers are gone. According to Johns Hopkins, adults 60 or older are more likely to have more severe coronavirus infections than any other age group – and this is especially true if a person has a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. The CDC reports that eight in ten deaths from COVID-19 in the United States happened among those aged 60 or older.

How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus, or any other serious virus, for that matter, can be much easier than you think. It all starts with excellent health hygiene. These tips can help:

·         Wash your hands. Wash them before and after preparing food, using the bathroom, or touching surfaces in public places. If you are in doubt about what might be on your hands, wash them!

·         Learn to wash your hands properly. Walk into any public restroom and you’ll see people washing their hands. But often they only wash them for a few seconds with soap and then rinse them with water. Take care to wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Want to be sure you’re doing it long enough? Sing one verse of “Happy Birthday” in your head. When you’re done, your hands are clean.

·         Keep your hands away from your face. Did you know that we tend to touch our face about 23 times per hour? That fact comes from research reported by the National Library of Medicine. Each time you touch your face, you run the risk of allowing the virus to enter your nose or mouth, and that can lead to developing COVID-19.

·         Clean the surfaces you touch. Do this frequently with a household disinfectant spray. Cleaning might include doorbells, doorknobs, wheelchairs or walkers, countertops, grab bars, and even your medical alert pendant or wristwatch.

·         Avoid crowds if possible. If you can do something by virtual means, do it! This might include talking with your doctor over a secured video chat line, having groceries delivered to your home instead of going out to shop for them, and avoiding social events that will get you within six feet of others.

·         Maintain social distancing. Six feet between you and another person is the goal. Though this is not always possible, the more you can do this, the less likely your risk of infection will be.

·         Get vaccinated. The CDC reports that individuals aged 65 and older saw the risk of COVID-related hospitalization drop by 94%. That’s a significant reason to get vaccinated and boosted. Remember that protection wanes over time, so if it has been five months or more since your last dose, it’s time to get a booster.

Lifestyle Changes for the Better

While it’s important to maintain social distancing and avoid crowds, it’s also important to not become isolated. In a recent interview with Johns Hopkins Health, Alicia Arbaje, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., offered strong advice for those who are dealing with the potential of isolation due to COVID-19 precautions. “We need to keep older adults safe, but also keep in mind that social isolation can have a negative impact on older people’s immunity and mental health.”

It’s vitally important to get creative in staying in touch. For instance, saying hello to the neighbors during your morning walk, calling friends and family to speak on the phone, learning to use video chat technology to see them in real time, and even attending virtual worship services offered at churches in the area can help you feel a sense of community and connectedness.

Now is also an excellent time to work on those more solitary projects that you’ve been putting off. For instance, scrapbooking to put together old photographs and memorabilia is a great idea, as is taking up painting, art journaling, cooking, or even writing poems and songs. Definitely keep a journal of your day-to-day thoughts, feelings, and experiences to look back on later and provide a wonderful window into you for future generations.

Since you might not have as many visits from family and friends for the foreseeable future, it’s time to invest in peace of mind with medical alert technology. Alert1 medical alarms allow you to reach emergency services anytime, anywhere, for a quite affordable monthly cost. The Command Center the button alarm connects you to is staffed with highly-trained individuals who know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. They will get in touch with emergency services as well as those on your contact list and stay on the line with you to be sure you get the help you need.

Government Resources to Help                    

To meet the demand for healthcare resources for the elderly, the National Institute on Aging has prepared a very comprehensive list of government help for seniors that can make this difficult situation a bit easier. Visit the website to find the category of help you need and go through their list of links to find the proper place to get that help.

Other Healthcare Steps to Take Right Now

There are other steps to take to ensure the best health and healthcare for you and those around you:

·         Stock up on supplies. To avoid going out too often, try to get a three-month supply of all prescriptions. Several weeks’ worth of food, especially non-perishable food, as well as household supplies and pet supplies, is also a good idea.

·         Choose an emergency caregiver. If you are caring for seniors, consider what might happen if you wind up with COVID. You’ll need caregiver support who can step in and take care of your loved one if become ill – perhaps a professional caregiver can fill this role.

·         Get your free COVID tests. The United States government offers free COVID tests. Get yours by filling out a simple form. They are sent through regular mail right to your doorstep in a matter of weeks.

·         Look into senior life-saving alert systems. This affordable panic button alarm for seniors can ensure you get the help you need when you need it. A trained professional will answer the call, get the help you need, and stay on the line while you wait. That peace of mind can come in quite handy at any time, especially if you find yourself dealing with COVID-related symptoms.

·         Know what to do if you feel sick. If you feel sick, get in touch with your healthcare provider. If you have at-home COVID tests, take one to be on the safe side. A positive test means that you will need to isolate yourself from others and stay home. Your doctor will have more recommendations based on your health and living situation.

·         Never hesitate to request help. If you are suffering from shortness of breath, heavy cough, severe fatigue, chest pain, or any other sign of a medical emergency, press that button on your medical alert device. Never hesitate to get the help, as you are never charged for “false alarms” or repeated button pushes.

Will This Pandemic Ever End?

For years now, we’ve all been asking that same question. No one knows the answer, but the best guess is that COVID-19 will become very much like the flu. New strains will appear, scientists will develop vaccines, and most of us will be lucky enough to get away with only mild illness if we do contract the virus.

Unfortunately, Omicron is still going strong. As of this writing, a subvariant known as the BA.2 subvariant is increasing hospitalizations in Europe, and all indications say this will be shortly making its way to the United States. As many as 28 million unvaccinated seniors remain at risk for this subvariant, which is just another good reason to get those vaccinations today.

When it comes to prevention and protection, there’s no doubt that some things are here to stay, such as increased attention to washing your hands, wearing a mask for those who are older or immunocompromised, social distancing, and a move to more at-home services, such as grocery delivery.

Peace of mind has become paramount for so many during this trying time. In addition to the peace of mind that can come from being ready and able to fight against COVID-19, why not look for the peace of mind that comes from other things, such as aging in place home modifications or an investment in the affordable Alert1 Medical Alert. Having a medical alert necklace or bracelet will provide that peace of mind if you wake up in the middle of the night with an awful cough, find yourself running a high fever, or have trouble breathing. These can all be signs of COVID-19. If your doctor isn’t available and you’re scared of what you’re feeling, never hesitate to push that button and reach out for the help you need, anytime you need it.