Here in the second month of social-distancing and stay-at-home orders, the growth in the number of coronavirus cases has leveled off in some areas of the country, but it is still important to remain vigilant. At The Village at Providence Point—A National Lutheran Community, our team members continue to take precautions such as remote work and video conference calls.
While we are looking forward to life returning to some semblance of normalcy, our highest priority is everyone’s safety—particularly older adults who are the most vulnerable to infection. Here are a few precautions which are recommended in order to stay safe during this ongoing crisis:
1. Stay home.
This may be the hardest job, but the virus can only spread from person-to-person if you go out and interact with people. If we can all hold the line for a few more weeks, it will give local governments time to build the infrastructure necessary to contain the virus going forward until a vaccine or treatment is available. Grocery deliveries or a weekly curbside pickup will minimize time out in the world. If you have to go inside the grocery store, check to see if the store offers special hours for older adults—often early in the morning.
2. Wear protection.
The CDC’s latest guidance is to wear a mask out in public. Because of the shortage, N95 masks may be hard to find, but even surgical or homemade cloth masks will offer some protection against droplets in the air. Rubber gloves may also be useful if you have to go inside a store. Just be sure to remove the gloves carefully and dispose of them to prevent carrying potential germs from one location to another. Washing your hands or scrubbing with hand sanitizer after removing gloves can break the chain of transmission.
3. Get some exercise.
Now is not the time to set aside your wellness regimen. Exercise (plus a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables) will help keep your heart healthy, which may help mitigate effects of the virus should you contract it. Plus, the endorphins will make you feel good and keep your spirits buoyed. If you have a streaming TV service, you likely can find a living room aerobics class. Also, many fitness organizations offer classes you can dial into via Zoom. Consider checking with your gym or YMCA to see what may be available.
4. Enjoy the sunshine.
If it’s feasible, try to go outdoors at least once a day, even if it’s just to sit on your back porch with an afternoon cup of tea. The vitamin D from the sunlight may give your immune system a boost, and it certainly will help you feel better in general. If you want to take a walk through your neighborhood, make sure you will be able to stay at least six feet from your neighbors. Consider wearing a mask and walking at a time when no one else is out.
5. Be social.
One of the biggest threats to older adults in this crisis is isolation. Even in ordinary times, older adults are at risk for depression from loneliness, so take time to stay connected to your friends and family. A FaceTime or Zoom video call can do wonders for your mental wellbeing, but even a friendly text or email every day keeps you connected.
6. Keep it positive.
Finally, keep in mind that because the coronavirus is “novel,” even public health experts are offering conflicting information. You can spend all day reading conflicting news articles or getting in social media tiffs. For your mental health, consider limiting your news consumption to once a day, and try to stay positive. There is plenty of good news even amid the crisis, and life is too short to get swept into the petty dramas of the day.