How to deal with COVID-19 when you are over 65
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Staying in touch

Being close at a distance

Plan a routine

Settling yourself and the older generation into a new routine of talking and seeing each other over the internet is a must.  Some people plan virtual meals together with a tablet in front of them.  An early morning check-in on each other.  Chatter your way through shared TV shows.  Be creative.  Remember always that what is natural to your generation about modern technology is not for many in an older one.   They may need to have apps downloaded and installed and explained.  

Multiple methods

Not all communication has to be through the internet!  Phones still are an easy uncomplicated way of talking.  Learn how to conference people in to a call so that distant relatives and friends can join. Social distancing is sad for both grandparents and grandchildren.  Closing the gap virtually between them requires careful planning.  Some ideas were in a recent article from Harvard Health.

Prepare for challenges

Plan what to do if the person gets infected.  Plan what to do if their immediate caregiver gets infected.  Prepare for possible hospital admission, perhaps getting a bag ready with essentials:   
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Reading glasses
  • Hearing aid and batteries
  • A few days medications in a labeled plastic bag with a list and directions.  Keep an asthma aerosol separately.
  • List of conditions and allergies
  • Contact information for physicians
  • Signed copy of advance directives (leaving one at home or with a close relative)
  • Contact information for next of kin and for a translator if needed
  • A change of clothes suitable for hospital wear
One of the big challenges will be if one of your loved ones has some degree of dementia because of Alzheimer's. A sudden increasing onset of confusion may be a sign of infection and you should seek immediate medical advice.  Obviously remembering all the details of self-care will be a challenge.  The Alzheimers Association (www.alz.org) has useful advice: about posting reminders by the sink, using hand sanitizers instead of soap and showing them repeatedly how to wash their hands.  The person should stay on all medicines of course.  Know who their doctor is.  Plan ahead.