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What Seniors Need To Know About COVID-19

What COVID-19 means to elders and those with non-communicable diseases

What We Know:

  • The COVID-19 virus enters the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth, and proceeds to the lungs - this is why we are advised to avoid touching the face or being in crowded situations where someone may cough or sneeze, expelling particles through the air that you may inhale.

  • Transmission speeds up and there is greater severity of infection in spaces where younger and older adults are in contact, particularly if they are living together.

These are red flags for seniors over 60, in particular those over 70, who are at high risk of developing severe complications or even death from Covid-19. For them, seclusion may be the most effective means of protection. This means it’s best not to cuddle up with your grandchildren who will be at home when schools are locked down. Social distancing rules must be adhered to even between loved ones, especially between seniors and children.


What over-60s and caregivers must do 

Please note that the following guidelines do not necessarily apply to all seniors.

  • If you are over 60: it’s best to self-isolate at home. Avoid visiting friends or family unless necessary.

  • If you live with others: practice social distancing of at least six feet at all times.

  • Limit visitors: to one or two at a time. Ask all visitors to wash their hands and maintain social distance – including with your grandchildren.

  • During high-risk periods: use social media such as Skype and Facetime, or the telephone to stay in touch with loved ones and friends. Remember they are also in the same situation and would look forward to your chats. 

  • Regularly wash your hands: for 20 seconds using soap and water, which is better than hand sanitizer. Use hand lotion to moisturise and keep the skin from drying and cracking.

  • Disinfect surfaces in the house: with Lysol or a solution of four teaspoons bleach per quart of water. 

  • Maintain good hygiene: Clean high-use surfaces such as door knobs, sink handles, refrigerator and oven doors, steering wheels daily. Change hand- and kitchen towels daily. Open windows (if possible) to increase ventilation. Do not share dishes and utensils.

  • Follow routines: Prepare meals, eat, exercise, bath, nap, go to bed, and wake up just as you would as usual. Sticking to a routine can help keep things normal and prevents depression. If it helps, write out your routine and keep it in a place where it is clearly visible.

  • Exercise discipline: Avoid the temptation to sleep in or sit on the couch all day. 

  • Choose healthy foods: over “junk food” and limit alcohol intake to one glass (or less) per day. 

  • Walk around your house: several times a day. If you live in an apartment, walk the halls.

  • Walk outside: when few people are around. For safety reasons, don’t walk when no one is around. Keep a distance of at least six feet from anyone. Visit large parks if available.

  • Stay out of shops if possible: Opt for home delivery or ask someone to pick up your groceries and medications for you. 

  • Shop very early in the morning: when there are fewer customers and the store is at its cleanest. Keep six feet from others.

  • Avoid gatherings of any size: If you regularly attend worship services, consider using the regular time of attendance as a time of home worship.

  • It is best to avoid healthcare officers: unless absolutely necessary. Use Telemedicine or telephone options instead. If you are experiencing any ailments or difficulties, do not hesitate to get in touch with your doctor via telemedicine. Never delay necessary medical treatment.  

  • Make sure you take all your usual medicines: and that you have enough stocks of medication and supplements.

  • Keeping other medical conditions: such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure under control helps you to better withstand infection should you develop it.

Our doctors are on hand to meet you on ODOC and MyDoctor.lk, via telemedicine during this difficult time. If you have any questions, call us directly on 0773 511 511.

Call 0773 511 511 for information on handling routine visits to the elderly and visits related to concerns regarding possible COVID-19 symptoms. 


By Dr. Kayathri Periasamy, MBBS (UK), MRCP (UK), Board Certified in Int. Medicine (USA). Founder of Healthy Life Clinic


Keep abreast of news about the pandemic at www.epid.gov.lk

For help, medical advice, or information, call us on 0773 511 511. 

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