The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a strain of coronavirus, a global pandemic. The virus can spread to anyone, but it is most serious for older adults. Seniors, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) are at higher risk of severe illness, complications or even death due to the virus. Therefore, it is imperative that all people, especially seniors and those in close contact with older loved ones, take precautions.
Thankfully, some very commonsense practices can help protect you or a loved one who is in a higher risk category. But while separation and cleanliness are important factors, it’s also important to avoid total isolation and loneliness, which can negatively impact your loved one’s well-being.
These tips from The Haven at North Hills Senior Residence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will help you and your loved ones stay safe while remaining connected.
The more people you come in contact with, the more likely you are to catch or spread COVID-19. That’s because the virus spreads in close quarters. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain the virus. People in the area can possibly breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing or sneezing is infected. The more people in an area and the closer they are together, the faster the disease could potentially spread. To protect our senior loved ones, it is important to limit travel that is not absolutely necessary, especially airplane travel or public transportation, which could put you in close contact with hundreds or thousands of strangers.
The Haven has also temporarily changed its visitation policies in order to protect the community’s residents. Visitors are not allowed at the community except for in very limited circumstances approved by the Executive Director. In addition, The Haven strictly prohibits anyone from entering the community that might have been exposed to COVID-19 through travel or community spread, or who is exhibiting any signs of illness.
Even if you are not sick and are washing your hands frequently as recommended by WHO, it is still possible that the virus could live on surfaces in your home for a few hours up to several days. If you leave your home and come back, your clothes, hands, and shoes could potentially transfer the virus to doorknobs, countertops, handles, floors, or other surfaces. If you touch those surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you may be exposed to the virus. It’s therefore important to periodically clean and sanitize surfaces in your home with bleach, alcohol, or a disinfecting wipe or spray.
At The Haven, the staffs are always conscious of the cleanliness of the community. That is even more true now, as staff members are being extra-diligent about cleaning and disinfecting frequently-used surfaces.
While WHO recommends physically distancing yourself from others during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is still possible to connect with our loved ones digitally. Loneliness and isolation can have a negative impact on well-being and the immune system. Therefore, to alleviate the strain of social isolation around this situation, staff at The Haven are helping to facilitate video conferencing and other virtual communication tools between residents and their loved ones. Remember that you can give your loved on a call on the phone or via video anytime you like!
Implementing these tips will help keep our senior loved ones safe from COVID-19 as well as connected with friends and family.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of The Haven at North Hills, contact our friendly team today.