Hyderabad: Senior citizens above the age of 60 and those with chronic illnesses like asthma, pulmonary diseases, and heart disease face a higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Hence, the ministry of health and family welfare has asked them to stay indoors.

Keeping this in mind, the secretary of social justice and empowerment, R. Subramanyam, has written to the chief secretaries of all state and Union territories asking them to publish a list of do’s and don’ts for senior citizens and their caregivers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Do’s and don’ts for senior citizens who live alone
The letter stated that senior citizens who live alone should not step out to buy essentials and instead should seek help from their healthy neighbors. Such elderly people should constantly stay in touch with relatives on the phone. Hygiene should be maintained at home and apart from sanitising their hands, they should also sanitise frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
Senior citizens should avoid both small and large gatherings and should also not invite people over to their house for get-togethers, the secretary said in the letter.
As far as possible, they should take medical advice via tele-counselling and take their prescribed medicines without fail. He also advised them to drink more water since it’s summer and they may get dehydrated.
Do’s and don’ts for caregivers
Meanwhile, the caregivers of senior citizens and NGOs which work for the welfare of senior citizens should ensure that elderly people living in their shelters are healthy and are taking proper precautions like washing their hands regularly and covering their nose and mouth while sneezing.
The caregivers have been asked to stay away if any senior citizen shows symptoms of fever or flu. No senior citizen should be kept completely bed-bound and the caretakers should wash their hands before touching any senior citizen.

The caregivers were also advised to contact the helpline if the senior citizens under their care show COVID-like symptoms.

Mental health
Mr Subramanyam also gave importance to the mental health of the senior citizens and said they should not isolate themselves, should talk to relatives at home, and with neighbors while following the social distancing norms. They can practice their old hobbies he suggested.
He strictly asked the senior citizens to stay away from alcohol or tobacco to kill their boredom and loneliness.
The caregivers can call the helpline (08046110007) if the senior citizens under their care don’t remember their relatives or if they suddenly stop speaking.
Meanwhile, the senior citizens were also asked to stay away from unverified news and refrain from sharing sensational and unverified news on social media

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