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Chicago Covid Update: How to Keep Seniors Safe

Seniors Taking Exercise Class

While COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is taking its toll on the whole world, older adults are especially vulnerable to severe illness, and even more so if they’re medically fragile. Research is showing that adults 60 and older, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or cancer, are more likely to have extremely severe coronavirus infection than other age groups. Thankfully, the new Omicron variant, while more contagious, tends to manifest with fewer symptoms and less severity, especially among the vaccinated.

Older adults are more likely to get severely sick from COVID-19, meaning that they may need hospitalization. The risk increases for people in their 50s, 70s, and 80s, while people 85 and older are at severe risk. Therefore, seniors, as well as those who live, visit, or provide care for them, need to take steps and precautions to properly protect themselves from getting COVID-19. Here are a few recommendations to consider:

Get Fully Vaccinated

Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus. The CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older receive COVID-19 vaccines. People 65 and older who received both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines showed a 94% reduced risk of COVID-19 related hospitalization.

If you’re caring for somebody with an underlying condition, you should consider getting vaccinated, too. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective, especially at keeping adults from getting seriously ill even if they do get COVID-19. Vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Take The Booster Shot

If you and your loved one have both completed your initial vaccine series, you can be administered a booster shot. If you need help scheduling your booster shot, contact the location that set up your previous appointment. If you need to get your booster shot in a location different from where you received your previous shot, there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider.

Exercise Frequently

For seniors, an active lifestyle is especially essential as it lowers the risk of several conditions. On top of that, according to recent studies, people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience severe outcomes from COVID-19. A little exercise goes a long way, so it’s important to make sure that your loved one is getting some form of exercise and moving around daily.

Limit In-Person Interactions

Limit contact with people, especially those outside your immediate circle, as much as possible especially when indoors. Keep space between yourself and others, staying 6 feet away, which is about 2 arm lengths. Older adults and their caregivers should consider wearing a mask when interacting with each other.

Wash Your Hands

It’s important for both seniors and their caregivers to wash their hands regularly at least for 30 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Furthermore, clean and disinfect surfaces and things you and your loved one use often.

Be Considerate

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Wash your hands afterwards. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, face, or mouth, as well as that of others with unwashed hands.

For more tips and recommendations on older adult care, read our other articles on our blog.

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