The Importance of Social Distancing (1)

As you tune in to the latest updates on COVID-19, you’ll learn that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged that we practice social distancing. It is one of several recommendations to help slow the spread of the outbreak. But what exactly is social distancing and why is it important for seniors?

What is social distancing?

The CDC defines social distancing as avoiding crowded public areas and mass gatherings, as well as maintaining a safe distance from others (about six feet). 

Why is it important?

Some people are at higher risk for the virus, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. The purpose of social distancing is to minimize the spread of the virus. It’s important to note that you can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus to others, which makes social distancing an especially critical strategy for seniors. The less contact higher risk people have with others, the better their chances of avoiding exposure to the virus. 

How can seniors practice social distancing? 

There are a number of ways to practice social distancing, including, but not limited to:

  • Greet people without touching (i.e., no handshakes or hugs) 
  • Maintain a distance of six feet from others if you have to leave home
  • Use video/audio alternatives instead of face-to-face interactions (i.e., FaceTime)
  • Avoid public places (i.e., grocery stores, churches, recreation centers, etc.)  

What can I do if I’m a caregiver?

If you are providing care to someone who may be at high risk, it’s important to make sure that you (and everyone in the household) practice safe hygiene practices as outlined by the CDC. In addition, when it comes to routine trips outside the home like to the pharmacy, consider a delivery service or requesting a back-up supply from your medical provider. Minimizing your need to leave the house can go a long way to keeping your loved ones safe.

Should seniors keep their doctor appointments? 

If possible, non-essential appointments should be postponed or moved to a virtual experience (i.e., telemedicine). Be sure to consult with your physician and follow their recommendations. 

Can I visit my elderly friends and family?

While our first instinct may be to visit our aging friends and family, this group is especially at risk as we learn more about this virus. Many assisted living communities and senior homes have already implemented changes to their visitor policies as they work to put the health and safety of their residents and staff a main priority. To learn more about Arbor’s modified visitor and access policy, click here.  

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