While we are still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, our children and grandchildren are entering a new school year. Depending on where you live, this means that some children will be back in their classrooms interacting with other students, school personnel, and school bus drivers. A lot of attention is correctly being placed on keeping our children safe as they return to school.
However, even if everyone follows all the social distancing rules and wear masks, children returning to school create an increased risk for the spread of the coronavirus to the senior members of their families. Seniors who live alone can take extra precautions by restricting their contact with their younger family members. But, when seniors and others with health issues live in the same household or are the daycare providers for school age children, they will need to make some decisions on how they can remain safe and healthy while still remaining connected with school age children.
Whether living alone or living in a multigenerational household, consider reinforcing or implementing the following list of coronavirus prevention tips. Ensure that your caregivers help you adhere to this information.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips to Keep Your Family Healthy
For Seniors Living with Other Family Members
1. Practice good hygiene. Everyone who enters the home needs to frequently wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or longer. Clean all doorknobs and commonly used surface areas with disinfectants several times a day.
2. Children should change their clothing when returning from school. Wash the school clothes before wearing them again. This helps to remove any germs collected while out of the home.
3. Know what Medicare benefits you have regarding medical and prescription coverage. Be sure to continue taking your medicines as prescribed by your health care provider to help your immune system and to maintain a level of personal protection from new infections.
4. Practice social distancing as much as possible within the space available. Everyone loves a good hug, but with the elevated virus risk for seniors, air hugs may be the best method at the current time. When personal contact is required, everyone needs to wear a mask and disposable plastic gloves.
5. Limit common area sharing. Family members can help each other from spreading potentially harmful germs by not sharing food, beverages, utensils, or plates. If seniors or individuals with health issues cannot have a private bathroom, family members should not share towels, dental or hygiene products. Designating one room in the house just for seniors or other family members with health problems is another preventive measure to help keep them safe.
For Seniors Living Alone
1. Know what Medicare benefits you have regarding medical and prescription coverage. Be sure to continue taking your medicines as prescribed by your health care provider to help your immune system and to maintain a level of personal protection from new infections.
2. Practice social distancing when school age children come to visit. You can have a meaningful visit even when the children are outside while you remain indoors. Drive-by visits are another way to keep your family healthy while remaining connected. Be sure that everyone is wearing a mask if the children come into
your home, that they wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Clean all doorknobs and commonly used surfaces with disinfectant when they enter the home and when they leave.
3. Enjoy daily communications with grandchildren via phone calls or the internet. You can remain an important part of their daily lives when you cannot be with them in person and they will know how much you love them.
4. Stay alert to the latest coronavirus prevention procedures issued by your local government. The medical community is learning more about controlling the pandemic every day. Knowing the up-to-date information is the best way to know how to keep your family healthy and to know who you can safely be with and when.