As of this writing, the COVID-19 (popularly known as coronavirus) pandemic is in full force.

Italy has shut down the whole country.

Parts of the US have restricted public meetings and are encouraging workers to do their work remotely.

Companies like Amazon have asked their employees to work from home at least until the end of March, 2020.

Reports show that most of the people who have died as a result of the coronavirus are older adults or those who have chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Even the stock market has been affected by this situation.

It’s alarming and rightly so.

What can you do to support your elderly loved one during this worldwide epidemic?

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the steps you can take to care for your loved one during this season.

PLEASE NOTE: A lot of these steps are useful for a general audience but will pertain mostly to people living in the Greater San Diego and Orange County regions where Green Tree Home Care has offices.

Coronavirus in San Diego – what you should know as a caregiver

The risk in the region is low

As of this writing, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the coronavirus risk for the Greater San Diego and Orange County areas remains very low.

However, it is still important to take steps to prevent getting infected by the virus.

Those steps include the following.

Stock up on medical supplies and medication

For an elderly loved one who has a chronic condition, the better the chronic condition is managed, the higher the chance that they will not be severely affected by the virus.

Proper chronic disease management may mean:

  • Ask your doctor if you can stock up on medication.
  • Be sure to have over-the-counter medications that your loved one could take should they exhibit any symptoms.
  • Getting disinfecting agents like hand sanitizer, bleach or disinfecting alcohol to wipe surfaces in the home.
  • If there are other medical supplies that your loved one needs in order to perform daily activities, make sure you’re stocking up on those as well.

Have extra food on hand just in case

People who are coughing, sneezing or who are otherwise sick, have been advised to stay at home.

These people may have to stay at home for a week or longer.

If this happens to your loved one, you want to make they have enough food and water to last that period where they’re indoors.

Avoid public gatherings if you’re sick

Even though the risk in our region is low, it’s important to reiterate that if you’re sick, it is in your best interest (and in the interest of others) to stay at home.

This will reduce the risk that you spread what you have to others.

And it will ensure you or your loved one is not exposed to another troublesome infection – including coronavirus.

And even if they’re not sick, avoiding public gatherings is still helpful for your loved one.

Wash your hands

Hand-washing is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections.

The CDC recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water while scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.

For perspective, 20 seconds would be about how long it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday to you” song one time through.

Wash your hands:

  • When you use public bathrooms
  • And when come from outside and into your home
  • If you shake a lot of hands during the day
  • Or if the job you do exposes you to sick people on any given day (e.g if you’re a nurse)

Report immediately to a doctor should you experience any symptoms

The symptoms of a coronavirus infection include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Call the doctor immediately if you observe your loved one showing these symptoms.

 

Again, while the risk of coronavirus in San Diego remains low, taking the right precautions will limit your or your elderly loved one’s risk for the infection.