Whether we are in a global pandemic like COVID-19 or simply in the midst of cold and flu season, social distancing is a concept we don’t think much about. But it is a crucial part of slowing the spread of transferrable diseases. But what exactly is social distancing and how do we practice it properly?
No matter what the health concerns are, there are always going to be more vulnerable people, and this includes seniors and people who are already compromised in their immune system. Let’s look at how to help the elderly population stay safe through social distancing….
The Importance of Maintaining Social Distance
We often forget how easy it is to spread viruses such as the common cold or flu. We easily infect those around us because of simple things like shaking hands with others and then rubbing our face or opening doors to public places. So, how does social distancing work to reduce contagious diseases? Here are a few basics:
• Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people.
• Avoid gathering in large groups or with people in public places.
• Avoid crowds.
Hand hygiene is super important to prevent catching colds or giving your cold to someone else. Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic to put the importance of washing your hands back in the public mindset. While illnesses spread through skin-to-skin contact, they can also spread by breathing in air particles of an infected person near you. Avoiding close contact by practicing social distancing can go a long way in preventing sickness!
It is almost impossible to prevent the spread of colds and flu when we’re in large gatherings, restaurants, movies, etc. The only way to really slow the spread is by not gathering in groups, staying home as much as possible, and by washing your hands frequently, as well as sanitizing surfaces that are used often.
Social Distancing & Finding Alternatives
Social distancing should not mean that you have to turn into a shut-in recluse! There is a difference between isolation and quarantine. A few tips to help as you quarantine or self-isolate would be things like using delivery services for groceries and other supplies, doing banking online, and wearing a mask when you must go out in public. As things begin to open back up, consider eating in restaurants with more space and fewer people. You may also want to switch to a mail-order pharmacy to get your medications so you don’t stand in line with other people who may be infected.
Social Distancing and Senior Risks
The risk of depression is higher in seniors, so be cognizant of this as you go forward. Don’t let social distancing become total isolation that could lead to depression or anxiety. Check on loved ones often and use video calls such as Skype or FaceTime to help your elderly loved ones feel connected to family and friends!
Social distance practices can be tough to endure, so it’s important to recognize the signs of depression n your senior loved ones. While it’s necessary to quarantine during a pandemic such as COVID-19, it should not be the cause of feelings of hopelessness or loneliness! Keep an eye on loved ones, neighbors, and friends who may be elderly and fragile.
As we get through this pandemic together, keep in mind that this too shall pass, and we WILL come out on the other side stronger and with many valuable lessons learned.
If you need help or more information on keeping seniors safe both physically and mentally during these trying times, please reach out to us! We are here to help.
Home Helpers of Northeastern Illinois is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, 24-hour live-in care, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Skokie, Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Fort Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Golf, Highwood, Hubbard Woods, Kenilworth, Lake Forest, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Riverwoods, Rosemont, Techny, Wilmette, and Winnetka, Illinois.
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