With senior citizens more vulnerable to coronavirus, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has released a set of dos and don’ts for them, to safeguard their physical and mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown.
The advisory, issued by the central ministry along with the Department of Geriatric Medicine, AIIMS New Delhi, also includes guidelines for caregivers of the elderly.
The guidelines are for three categories: Advisory for Senior Citizens who are mobile; Advisory for caregivers of dependent senior citizens; and advisory for senior citizens on mental well-being.
For Senior Citizens who are mobile
The advisory asks them to stay at home all the time, avoid going to the hospital for routine check-ups or follow-ups and instead hold online sessions with their doctor, maintain hygiene and wash hands regularly, and ensure proper nutrition and hydration.
“If living alone, one can consider depending on healthy neighbours for acquiring essentials for home. Remain actively mobile within the house. Clean frequently touched objects such as spectacles,” the advisory says, adding: “Don’t shake hands or hug your friends and near ones, don’t self-medicate.”
For caregivers of dependent senior citizens
“Wash your hands before helping the older individual. Cover nose and mouth adequately using a tissue or cloth while attending on the senior citizen. Clean the surfaces which are frequently used. These include a walking cane, walker, wheel-chair, bedpan etc,” the advisory tells them.
The don’ts for caregivers include not going near senior citizens if suffering from fever/cough/breathing difficulty, and not keeping them completely bed-bound.
Advisory for senior citizens on mental well-being
The advisory asks senior citizens to “make sure to access and believe only the most reliable sources of information”, and to stay away from “any sensational news or social media posts and not spread or share any unverified news or information further.”
“Communicate with relatives, neighbours, provided social distancing is followed. Rediscover old hobbies like painting, listening to music, reading. Avoid tobacco, alocohol and other drugs to avoid loneliness or boredom. If you have an already existing mental illness, call helpline (08046110007),” the advisory says, asking people to not isolate themselves or confine themselves to a room.
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