The Coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread to large parts of the world, has already resulted in economic fallout and triggered panic buying as consumers look to stockpile on essentials.
The virus has proven to have varying mortality rates in different parts of the world, ranging from 0.7 percent in China to over five percent in Italy. However, it is impossible to make an accurate comparison as we don’t know how many people are actually infected in each country.
Senior Citizens Are Vulnerable to Covid-19
It is already abundantly clear that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, as their immune systems are weaker, and many senior citizens suffer from diseases, such as hypertension or respiratory diseases, which put them at a greater risk of death from the virus. Adults and teens suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as Vitiligo, are also at a much greater risk of death from the virus than healthy adults.
Senior citizens’ vulnerability to Covid-19 has raised concerns about the virus hitting and spreading in elderly communities, in assisted living facilities, for example. There have already been reports of senior citizens in such facilities testing positive for the virus in the US, and some politicians, such as French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, have urged family members to distance themselves from their elderly loved ones for their safety.
How Are Assisted Living Facilities Protecting Residents?
Given the vulnerability of senior citizens to the Covid-19 virus, it is unsurprising that senior living facilities have taken a number of steps to protect residents. Some assisted living facilities across the US have implemented a “no visitors” policy in a bid to curb the virus’ spread to their communities. However, a few haven’t yet implemented such a drastic option.
Senior communities are also screening visitors and workers for symptoms of the virus (such as a fever). They are ordering people exhibiting such symptoms to self-isolate in a bid to protect residents.
Additionally, senior living facilities have encouraged residents to step up their personal hygiene to tackle the virus’ spread by regularly washing their hands with soap and water. In contrast, others have implemented mild social distancing measures within their communities.
Communal activities – such as group dinners and game time – are one of the main ways the virus could spread in elderly communities, so some facilities have canceled such activities indefinitely.
There haven’t been any reports of senior communities distributing face masks to all of their residents, as governments and health officials all around the world have questioned the effectiveness of face masks in limiting the spread of the virus. Some have warned wearing a face mask could do more harm than good if people don’t handle them properly, especially when taking them off.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised care homes to provide residents with continuous coughs with face masks, to hopefully reduce the chances of them spreading potential Covid-19 germs to communal surfaces in their assisted living facilities.
A Quick Summary
- Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, as their immune systems are typically weaker, and they may be suffering from other ailments (such as hypertension), which put them at increased risk of death if they contract the virus.
- Senior communities are concerned about the spread of the virus within their vulnerable populations and have implemented various measures, including adopting a “no visitors” policy and distributing hand sanitizer.
- Politicians and health officials have urged senior citizens to self-isolate while things blow over, while some countries have even banned family members from visiting senior living facilities.
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