How Should Elderly Deal With Illnesses During COVID-19 Lockdown? 

What is of primary importance is to ensure to include the elderly in daily activities and keep them entertained.

Published13 Jul 2020, 01:43 PM IST
3 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Producer: Smitha TK

The coronavirus lockdown has heightened anxiety and other ailments for the elderly people, who are already vulnerable to the virus. The uncertainty of when things will return to normalcy and when they can take a stroll in their garden without having to fear contracting the virus, has complicated health condition for many. FIT spoke to Dr Madhu Sankar, senior consultant and head of the department of Cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, heart and lung transplant at Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai, who explained how senior citizens need to take care of themselves.

What is of primary importance is to ensure to include the elderly in daily activities and keep them entertained. It could even mean spending a few internet-free hours just listening to their stories, he suggested. Watching the daily news narrating the figures of COVID-19 across the country can be dampen their spirits, so it is advisable to watch stories that are happy and motivating.

If an elderly person is tested positive or shows symptoms, should he or she be taken to the hospital for treatment ? Or is it okay to treat them at home?

You have to monitor if the fever is continuing, if he is symptomatic and has any difficulty in breathing. If these factors are mild, then it is better to keep them at home and take care of them. Because if you are taking them to a hospital, you are actually taking them to a high risk environment.

Many senior citizens are missing their regular check ups during the pandemic. What are the 5 things they need to worry about?

If one has diabetes, hypertension, cancer, arthritis, eye, respiratory or cardiac problems, they should definitely continue their treatment. What will cause issues is interruption of this routine. There should be a set protocol for checking sugar and blood pressure. It is important to have a telemedicine contact handy.

Five solutions for the elderly to live a peaceful calm life during this lockdown?

1. To everybody, be respectful to seniors.

2. Follow the rules. Do not skip medicines without medical advice.

3. Telemedicine is very important to keep ready in case of emergency.

4. Stock up your medicines so that you don’t have to panic at all.

5. Keep yourself occupied. Watch television for 30 minutes, and then walk for a bit. If they lie down in the bed all day, their arthritis will become worse. So read a book and then walk for a while. Do a few stretching exercises. Do these and you can avoid issues. Prevention is better than cure.

Loneliness is a serious concern for the elderly as many live alone, and with fears of COVID far more concerning for the elderly, stepping out, meeting people is not encouraged. How can they make sure to not let mental health issues complicate their situation?

You have to do some aerobic exercises and always keep in contact with closed ones and even a doctor. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. And for the other family members, involve the elderly in decision making so that they feel empowered and not isolated.

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