STAY SAFE: Helpful tips for senior citizens on COVID-19

The National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) has provided helpful tips for senior citizens of things they can do to protect themselves as the country deals with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Take breaks from the news and social media

Executive Director of the NCSC, Cassandra Morrison, shared that senior citizens are being encouraged to take breaks from social media and from watching, reading, or listening to news reports.

She explained that it can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly.

“They should try to engage in enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks,” she said.

Take medication as prescribed by doctor

The elderly are also being advised to take their medications as prescribed by their doctor.

Do some form of exercise, eat well

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“To maintain a healthy body they should take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, eat well-balanced meals, do some form of exercise, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and smoking,” Ms Morrison said.

Keep in touch with family

She also recommended that they keep in contact with family members and friends using technology, and to talk with people who are trustworthy about any concerns and how they are feeling.

Follow instructions from the Ministry of Health and Wellness

Importantly, Ms. Morrison said they should follow the instructions from the Ministry of Health and Wellness on how to protect themselves as well as not to engage in panic-shopping.

Watch out for signs of distress

She added that persons should also be mindful of these common signs of distress – feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear; changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels; difficulty concentrating; difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images; physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes; worsening of chronic health problems; anger or short temper; and the increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.           

“If you are feeling stressed out, speak to family members or call the Mental Health Helpline 888-639-5433 or speak with your religious leader,” Ms Morrison said.