If your parents are senior citizens living in India and you are living in a different city or country this article is for you. The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise. As of April 14, 2023, there are 49,622 active cases across India and 3,962 active COVID-19 cases in Delhi out of which is 615 added on the last day itself, as mentioned by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. If your parents have missed the booster dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine or the booster is overdue, it’s high time to get them vaccinated at the nearest healthcare facility.
You do not have to panic as we have come a long way in understanding the disease, and the line of treatment. Also, the spread will be slow until & unless the virus does not get a new Greek alphabet (i.e. a new variant’s name).
When a single person has two or more medical conditions at the same time, it is called comorbidities. It is more common in Senior Citizens as aging is accompanied by numerous chronic health conditions such are Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Hypertension Stage I or II, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Arthritis, etc. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, approximately 23 percent of Senior Citizens (60+ age group) in India have multimorbidities and for the female population, the ratio is higher.
If your parents have comorbidities then you need to be extra careful in making sure that it is under good clinical control. Make sure that they get a preventive health check-up done and consult the general physician on regular basis. Tracking the vitals & charting them manually or digitally on health apps give better insight to your treating doctor and regular review of them by a doctor can yield better clinical outcomes by working on the preventive part and reduce the chances of hospital emergency visits.
As mentioned in an interview with NDTV, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Chairman- Institute of Internal Medicine, Former Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said that “Senior citizens are at a higher risk of developing severe illness if they get infected with COVID-19. They need to take extra precautions to protect themselves,”
You can ask your elderly parents to take several precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 spread:
- Follow social distancing guidelines & limit the number of visitors to your parent’s home.
- Request them to Wear a mask when the house help or other people supporting you are around and request them to wear a mask when working in your house.
- Educate them to Practise good hygiene- Ideal Handwashing practices are like a magic pill for a healthy life.
- Make sure there is sufficient stock of medicine at home & track that all medicines are being taken on time.
- Stay home – The golden rule to stop any spread.
- Seek medical attention immediately when needed to ensure vital monitoring like pulse oximeters, weighing machines, BP monitors & Glucometers are handy & available at home.
- Consult your family physician and regular parameters need to be monitored as per his advice do not use the internet to book health checks as he may have to read a couple of pages of the report which was not clinically advised.
- Check records of vaccination and get a booster dosage of COVID-19, Flu & Pneumonia vaccine, or any other as advised by their treating doctor.
- Keep contact details of your nearest hospital for better coordination in case of emergency.
- Tagging your house location on Google reduces the ambulance time to reach your place & you can do a dry run from the service provider of your choice to know the response time.