6 Essential Tips for Caregivers of Seniors During COVID-19
Seniors in Singapore are adapting to a ‘new normal’ because of COVID-19. Many of them are encouraged to exercise indoors and avoid going out or having social gatherings to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.
Seniors are at a higher risk of developing serious health complications from COVID-19. According to Statista*, more than 80 percent of COVID-19 related deaths in Italy as of July 2020 were from seniors aged 70 years old and above.
If you are a caregiver for a senior, your caregiving duties at home might be amongst the 101 other things you need to manage. Here are some tips to help you identify the key things to note for your loved ones during this period:
*Source: Statista – Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Italy as of July 14, 2020, by age group
Caregiving Tip 1: Familiarise your elderly at home with technology
You don’t have to teach your senior everything about their phone. Rather, a simple tutorial on YouTube or Whatsapp can go a long way!
It will also help if you have a simple step-by-step instruction sheet with pictures that they can refer to when you are not around to make it easier for them to remember what you have taught them before.
Technology can also help to bridge the physical distance between you and your elderly, and keeps them supported emotionally. This is especially important if your elderly are usually alone at home.
Karaoke apps and simple games like Candy Crush can also keep them entertained, and mentally stimulated.
Caregiving Tip 2: Educate them on COVID-19
Seniors may not understand the current crisis well. Hence, it is even more crucial for us to explain to them what COVID-19 is. This will help them better understand the present situation and get them on board to do what it takes to stay safe, too.
You are an important guide for them during these uncertain times. Be it highlighting symptoms they need to look out for, or dispelling fake news about the virus, you can help keep them safe.
Not sure how to talk about COVID-19 in Cantonese or Hokkien? Here are some videos explaining COVID in dialect.
Caregiving Tip 3: Teach them proper hygiene practices
Proper hand hygiene is vital to keeping your loved ones safe! As advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*, handwashing has been proven to reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%!
Do check out a video about appropriate handwashing techniques by WHO if you or your loved ones need a refresher on the 7 steps of hand-washing!
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Hygiene Fast Facts
Caregiving Tip 4: Avoid going out unnecessarily
If you are living with an elderly loved one, try to avoid unnecessary excursions and outings. You can buy groceries in bulk or order them online so that you or your elderly do not have to leave home unnecessarily for food and necessities.
You can also collect a larger prescription for medications if needed, to reduce the need to travel frequently to hospitals.
In fact, many clinics like NTUC Health’s Family Medicine Clinic can provide tele-consultations for some chronic conditions, and mental conditions. Do contact your clinic for more information!
These will all help to reduce their exposure to the virus.
Caregiving Tip 5: Teach them how to wear a mask properly
If your elderly has to leave their home, make sure that they are well protected. Remind them to avoid touching external surfaces and their faces when they are outdoors.
Teach them how to wear a mask properly and ensure that they cover their nose and mouth. For those who prefer wearing fabric masks, check out this video by WHO which guides you on how to wear these masks properly.
You could inculcate in them a habit to shower or change out and wash their hands after they come home. Encourage them to wash or sanitise their hands regularly.
Caregiving Tip 6: Help them stay alert through activities
Even though your loved ones may not be able to move around as much as before, it is important for them remain active even at home. This prevents them from deteriorating mentally and physically.
Some ideas to keep your elderly busy at home include exercising with them, or playing stimulating games such as solving jigsaw puzzles together.
You can check out our Chair Zumba videos for a great and simple guide for them to keep fit at home too!
With your help, your elderly loved ones can emerge healthy and loved from this pandemic!
NTUC Health’s Family Medicine Clinic
NTUC Health Chair Zumba
Handwashing Fun Facts
Handwashing video using WHO technique
How to wear a fabric mask
Free Videos Explaining COVID-19 in dialects