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We may finally have a COVID vaccination available, but coronavirus is still as active as ever.
In the United States alone, there have been more than 3.4M cases and 136,000 deaths. So while you may not know someone personally who has gotten sick, people are definitely still getting the virus. Those are just inarguable facts.
But even as coronavirus rages on, it turns out that our older family members — aka the people who are most at risk for death by coronavirus — are actually the least concerned about it.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-related deaths are in adults 65 and older. And yet, those in that age range apparently don’t think they are even at risk of getting the disease.
In fact, 77% of Americans 65+ think that they are “unlikely” to get COVID, according to the latest Harris Poll.
So if the numbers don’t lie, why are our parents and grandparents so cavalier about the whole thing?
While there are likely a number of reasons, one of the most detrimental might be where they’re getting their information. With many older adults’ political views leaning heavily conservative, they’re more likely to choose conservative sources like Fox News.
Fox News has already been called out numerous times for downplaying the severity of the virus. Earlier this year, Fox News staple Sean Hannity even openly mocked COVID and the democrats’ response, saying,
“The apocalypse is imminent and you’re going to all die, all of you in the next 48 hours. And it’s all President Trump’s fault. Or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme radical socialist party would like you to think.”
Watching Fox News’ hosts like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson is so harmful that numerous studies actually found a strong correlation between the consumption of right-wing media and higher infection rates (they even called out Sean Hannity by name).
So, if that’s where your parents and/or grandparents are getting their news, it would make sense that they wouldn’t believe their chances of getting sick are as high as they actually are. After all, if the news you trust is telling you not to worry, why would you?
With the country slowly opening back up, it would be easy for any of us to think that COVID is no longer a serious risk. And, of course, nobody truly wants to believe that they would be the one to get sick. But people are getting sick. Period.
So what can we do if our parents and grandparents aren’t taking it as seriously as we would like them to? Obviously, our elderly family members are adults and can make their own decisions. But that doesn’t mean we have to be the ones to get them sick.
Below are four ways to help your older loved ones stay safe.
1. Offer To Handle Their Online Grocery & Medication Orders
Let’s be real: not every older adult is so adept at technology. But you can help! Offer to take their grocery list off their hands and input their order online. That way, they can avoid a trip to the grocery.
Meal delivery services are also becoming increasingly popular with the elderly population. With this service, seniors can have healthy, nutritious meals delivered to their door. Not only does this save time and eliminate the need for grocery shopping, but it also ensures that their meals are tailored to their dietary needs and preferences. Meal delivery service reviews are incredibly helpful when choosing a service, as they provide insight into customer experiences and the quality of the food.
Additionally, many pharmacies like CVS and Duane Reade offer the chance to have your medication delivered right to your door, but some require an app to do so. In this case, speak with your loved ones to get all their information so you can handle their medication deliveries on their behalf if they’d like.
2. Find Safe Ways to Keep in Contact
Unfortunately, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on everyone’s mental health — but it’s particularly affected our elderly family members. Many are suffering from depression and loneliness as their social lives have plummeted. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep in contact… safely.
Some of your options include phone calls, video chats, and maybe even a visit (as long as everyone stays 6 feet apart).
3. Get Tested Before a Visit
When COVID first started spreading, it was nearly impossible to get tested. But now tests are pretty much available at any doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. You can even order a test online!
If you’re planning on seeing your parents and/or grandparents and haven’t yet been vaccinated, definitely get tested first — especially if you’ve been hanging out with other people!
As you may know by now, you can have the virus without any symptoms. So, while you may not feel sick, you may actually have COVID and not even know it. And yes, having COVID while being asymptomatic means you can still spread it to your loved ones.
If you are experiencing symptoms, make sure you get the correct diagnosis before visiting your loved ones. Tests like Thermo Fisher procalcitonin can ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis.
4. Offer to Be Their Temporary Care Giver
If your elderly loved ones are open to more help, you may be able to become their caregiver. This may be a particularly good idea if you’re already taking care of your parent with Alzheimer’s. Consumer-directed services can allow you to get paid to care for your loved ones so you don’t have to put yourself under financial strain to do so.
Make sure you work closely with your loved ones to make sure they’re getting everything they need. try checking out example care plans to ensure you’re covering your bases.