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Keeping Our Elderly Loved Ones Healthy During the Global Coronavirus Outbreak

What is Coronavirus? 

I’m about to get a bit scientific…

Coronaviruses (COVID-19) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

There are now over 92,000 global cases, with infections in more than 70 countries and territories and deaths staggering above 3,000. In the United States, there are over 130 confirmed cases with a heartbreaking 11 deaths reported from the virus with four of these individuals being residents of an assisted living facility in Kirkland, WA.

The American Health Care Association, which represents 13,500 nonprofit and for-profit facilities for seniors and disabled people, issued updated guidelines Saturday in response to the Washington outbreak. The guidelines largely echo strategies recommended to stem the spread of other respiratory viruses, such as influenza. That includes frequent hand-washing among staff and visitors, grouping people who become ill in the same room or wing and asking family members who are sick to avoid in-person visits.

The growing concern for elderly health during the outbreak has impacted our industry tremendously, creating massive backorder delays on all Personal Protective Equipment and a tremendous increase of cancelations for resident events and visiting hours at elderly care facilities across the nation. Grocery stores everywhere are struggling to keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant chemicals on the shelves and millions of individuals are canceling their travel plans.

The virus is taking a disproportionate toll on the elderly across the globe due to their weakened immune systems and respiratory systems. It truly is a heartbreaking epidemic and we are worried sick for each of our elderly loved ones.

What can we do to help?

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands and encourage your elderly loved ones to do the same.
  2. Disinfect surfaces daily.
  3. If you are feeling any sort of illness, stay at home.
  4. Encourage your loved ones to cancel any travel plans they have in the next couple of months.
  5. Monitor your loved one’s health closely.
  6. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms.
  7. Constantly monitor your own health and check often for any of the symptoms listed below.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.  If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, please call your doctor, especially if you have recently traveled.

Disinfect often and keep a close eye on the ones you loved most!

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