Medically Approved

Supporting older adults through COVID-19

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Optum Perks Author

By Optum Perks Author

Older adults at higher risk may be feeling more stress. Here are some ways you can help.

Understand medications and medical supplies.

Make sure you know about all prescription and/or over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, such as diabetes test strips and oxygen, your loved one needs. See if it’s possible to have extra medication and supplies available. The recommendation is to have a two-week supply on hand, if possible. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn how you can get what you need.

Create a plan for food and other supplies.

Take stock of food in your household as well as additional necessities, such as toilet paper, pet food, and forms of entertainment such as books or magazines. Establish who will arrange food or supply delivery, if need be, including prepared meals. Know how much is needed. Create a back-up plan.

Understand the rules at care facilities.

If your loved one is in a care facility, make sure you understand what rules they have in place about visits,  communication, infection control and medical care.

Stay connected.

Make a plan for how you’ll communicate with your loved one. Set a regular time of day to call and check in. Consider several methods of staying connected, such as phone calls, text messaging, email, social media and/or or face-to-face computer time. Cards or letters by mail may also help an older adult stay engaged.

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Make a list of emergency contacts.

Have a list of phone numbers of family, friends, neighbors, health care providers, the local health department and other community organizations. Post the list on your refrigerator or another central location in your home. Make sure your loved one also has easy access to this list.

Know about community resources.

If your loved one depends on community support and services (for example, an organization that delivers meals), make sure their needs are being met. Know who to contact in case there are problems or disruptions.