According to Kiplinger and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 95% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States have involved patients over the age of 50. As you may have read about in the news for the past year and a half, or, if you have tragic first-hand knowledge of this fact yourself, older adults are more likely to suffer from the virus’s lasting effects.
Did you know that more than half (in fact, as much as 80%) of all patients still experience symptoms three months after first contracting the virus? And, the older a patient, the more likely they are to report experiencing lingering issues.
We hate to share such startling statistics with you; they are painful and frightening to read about. But sometimes, it’s good to be shocked and scared, especially about a subject as serious as this. The more we know about this awful virus, not only do we have a better chance of fighting it, but we can all think of ways that we can support those with COVID-19. Unfortunately, this is a battle that doesn’t end after a period of quarantine; COVID-19 sticks around for far too long if it ever goes away. That’s why many senior COVID-19 patients choose to have a caregiver help them fight their diagnosis.
Physicians Premier states a statistic from the National Opinion Research Center in Chicago, which says that nearly 20% of Americans over the age of 18 have been caregivers for an aging friend or family member during the time of the pandemic. There is no question that the road to recovery for elderly patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 is confusing and challenging. When an aging loved one is on the road to recovery, knowing what to watch out for and how you can best help them can make you, as a caregiver, feel more comfortable and confident in providing them with the appropriate aid they need.
Be Aware of the Symptoms
The CDC states that the most common physical symptoms of COVID-19 include loss of taste or smell, persistent fever and chills, body aches, difficulty breathing, nausea or diarrhea, sore throat, and fatigue. Although some of these symptoms may indicate mild illness instead of a serious one, some of these symptoms, such as dehydration, trouble breathing, or refusing to eat or drink, should automatically be treated as COVID-19 exposure.
Monitor Their Mental Health
Research by the National Institutes of Health indicates that patients over the age of 40 are most likely to experience severe mental health symptoms when they experience COVID-19. Due to strict quarantine rules and the inability to participate in everyday routines, most people have reported increased feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety due to the pandemic we are experiencing. Because there is a good chance that your loved one is also fighting loneliness on top of COVID, you need to be aware of signs of anxiety or depression (such as odd behaviors and severe mood swings) in addition to monitoring physical symptoms.
When in Doubt, Talk to a Doctor
Because, according to Physicians Premier, COVID-19 can quickly and unexpectedly worsen in seniors, caregivers must keep a close eye out for signs that their loved one’s condition may be declining. If you notice any severe symptoms present and if their health doesn’t quickly improve, call a doctor and see what they recommend. Never assume that it will be okay and that their condition is simply a cold or the flu; this is truly a case of “better safe than sorry” and where caution should reign. A doctor will advise you on whether to continue to treat the patient at home or if a visit to the emergency room is best.
When it comes to caring for a loved one after their diagnosis of COVID-19, Addington Place of East Lake is a wonderful living option for seniors at every stage of their personal health. Because the more aspects of your physical and emotional health you engage in, the happier and healthier a person ages.
Addington Place of East Lake is an Assisted Living community in the picturesque neighborhood of East Lake, Florida, that thrives on vibrant and meaningful senior living. Every day is a wonderful and happy day, as our residents enjoy a happy and carefree lifestyle. With chef-inspired meals, compassionate staff to serve residents 24-hours a day, and exciting social activities, our distinctive community offers a variety of opportunities for a rich life.
For more information on respite care and what Addington Place of East Lake offers its residents, visit our website and contact us today. Like us on Facebook to learn more about life at Addington Place.