Are You Concerned About Your Parents Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
It’s easy to stress about the health of your loved ones during a tough time. However, taking constructive steps in helping change the lifestyle of your parents and helping them stay calm is the going to be more beneficial than stressing out about the situation.
The Indian Demographic
The CDC has reported that 8 out of 10 deaths in the US have been in adults 65 years of age and older.
However, in data released from the health ministry, 48.8% of the people who have succumbed to the disease in India are younger than 60 years of age.
The difference in risk between the young and the elder has not been as sharp in India, and that may be looked at as a positive.
How Strict Should the Quarantine Be, Then?
UNICEF recommends us to, when taking care of older adults, “Practice social distancing but not social isolation”.
Even if the data is a little forgiving in India, people over the age of 65 still have a relatively weaker immune system (in most cases) and social distancing should be strict.
- Limit the number of guests, even if there is relaxation in the strictness of the lockdown
- Help your parents understand the importance of social distancing in current times
- Make sure social distancing doesn’t turn into social isolation: let the children spend a lot of quality time with older adults and organize regular video calls with relatives
- Do grocery shopping for them and ask them to avoid contact with the delivery man, etc.
- Encourage them to take part in every precaution which you take yourself, such as the frequent washing of hands.
Fun Activities to Engage in
Emerging evidence is tracing the pathways of the mind-body interaction and stress is proven to hurt immunity. One of the most important things you can do to help your parents is to make sure they do not stress.
- Avoid stress yourself: Your calm will not only keep you healthier but also inspire and “give permission” to your entire family to calm down.
- Encourage your parents to take breaks from watching the news, especially the ones laced with an emotional undertone. Keeping informed is important but one doesn’t need to drench themselves in information.
- Take care of your mind and body: organize family meditation sessions or yoga sessions and encourage your parents to take walks (with strict social distancing measures).
- If possible, ask your parents to guide the children in the house with fun and creative projects, like knitting.
Watch Out for Symptoms
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after coming in contact with the virus.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Contact your health care provider immediately if you spot any symptoms in your parents and follow the guidance of your doctor.
What to Do if They Your Parents Do Not Live With You?
You can take care of your parents even if there is physical distance between you.
- Check in on them regularly through phone calls
- Appoint someone to run errands for them
- Remind them to take their medications
- Inform them of important information regarding COVID-19 and ask them to call you and the doctor if they develop any symptoms.
Help Them Set Up Emergency Contacts and Speed Dials on Their Phone
- Identify a person nearby who can be relied on in case you are not available, and put their number on speed dial.
- Help them put all other important phone numbers in speed dial, including yours.
- Remember to add the number to your health care provider and COVID-19 emergency helpline numbers to speed dial.
Prevention is better than cure! Minimizing stress and practicing strict prevention measures will help you and your entire family pass through this tough time in the best way possible.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.
- United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Caring for the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic’, official UNICEF website (accessed on 26th May, 2020)
- American Phychological Association, ‘Stress Weakens the Immune System’, official APA website (accessed on 26th May, 2020)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Older Adults’, official CDC website (accessed on 26th May, 2020)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Symptoms’, official CDC website (accessed on 26th May, 2020)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘What You Can Do’, official CDC website (accessed on 26th May, 2020)