Understanding COVID-19 risks for seniors

The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases progressively with age, particularly beyond 50 years of age. Every individual needs to consider their personal risk factors when making decisions about going out. Public Health recommends older adults avoid non-essential trips in the community as much as possible. When going out into the community, remember that it is very important to: wear a mask or face covering where required, or when you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet); isolate yourself from others when you are sick (and get tested if you have COVID-like symptoms); stay at least two metres (six feet) apart from those outside your household; and exercise proper hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer especially before touching your face.

The COVID-19 situation can be very stressful. It is important to take care of your mental health during challenging times like these.  Check in with yourself. It’s okay not to be okay. Stay connected to others in different ways. Check in with others by phone or other technology.  Socializing is important for your mental health and overall wellbeing. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still stay in touch with those you love, and the outside world. It is important to be careful to protect yourself and others.

Here are some tips to stay connected:  connect with family and friends through the phone, texting, video chats, and social media; you can hug and touch each other within your household; learn a new hobby or activity online; try a new exercise class or learn a new skill; send cards or letters to let loved ones know you’re thinking of them.  Call Community Care at 613-476-7493 for ways to stay connected.

Physical activity is important for your overall physical and mental wellness. While older adults may wish to limit non-essential trips into the community as much as possible, there are still ways to be active both at home and outside.

Need groceries or prescriptions?  Before you go out shopping consider calling Community Care for free pick-up and delivery of groceries, medicines, library books and other essentials. With support from the United Way Hastings & Prince Edward, we have established a free delivery program to support seniors who make the choice to reduce their time in stores or to self-isolate at home.  Need help to place your grocery order online or by email?  Call Community Care to make arrangements for this free service. Thinking about placing an order with the new PEC Market Fresh Program?  Community Care will arrange to have it picked up and delivered to your door for free.  To make arrangements call Community Care at 613-476-7493.

The information in this column is adapted from the Ottawa Public Health (OPH) website.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes