By Chris Orestis
As the Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, and now is becoming more widespread by the day in the United States, it is critical that the most vulnerable population being impacted understands how to be better prepared. Seniors have been the hardest hit by the Coronavirus with the tragic death of 8 residents in a nursing home in Washington State, and a much higher mortality rate among seniors registered so far globally.
In fact, the CDC now confirms a 14.8% mortality rate for people 80 and older, but only 1.3% for people in their 50’s, 0.4% for people in their 40’s, and 0.2% for people in their 30’s and younger.As of Sunday, March 8, 2020, the U.S. had recorded 527 cases across 33 states with 21 fatalities. Globally, as of the same date, 109.837 cases have been recorded with 3,805 fatalities and 60,963 full recoveries. These numbers will change daily, and here are two good resources to track how the virus is progressing in the U.S. and Globally.
Mortality with Coronavirus is linked to the strength of a person’s respiratory system. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to respiratory conditions. In the case of Coronavirus, the air sacs of the lung will fill up with fluids cutting off vital oxygen to the organs which can induce failure and possible death. Adding to the danger facing seniors, is the contagious nature of the virus and the threat of it spreading in a confined population such as in a nursing home or senior living community.
Fortunately, the Senior Care industry has taken action to combat these dangers and is working closely with the CDC, the World Health Organization, and CMS to receive daily information updates, coordinate best practices to safeguard residents (and staff), and monitor for any new outbreaks.
Seniors and their families should stay in close contact as this virus progresses, and here are 5 tips to better handle the Coronavirus situation:
5 Step Retirement Genius Coronavirus Survival Plan
- Make every attempt to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then securely dispose of the tissue. If a tissue is not available, use your inner sleeve of your elbow.
- Continuously wash your hands with warm water and soap, or alcohol-based cleansers. Avoid touching your face and in particular your eyes, nose and mouth unless you have washed your hands and not come into contact with any possible contamination.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces such as electronic devices (cell phone, TV remote), and items that receive regular contact from hands such as doorknobs and handles.
- The CDC has specifically warned that seniors (age 60 and above) and/or those with underlying health conditions should avoid travel and gathering in areas with crowds and communal activity such as eating or higher probability of person-to-person contact where any reported cases of Coronavirus have been found. Avoiding activities such as “traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls, and going to religious services”, as well as avoiding cruise ships at this time is prudent.
- If you are exhibiting flu like symptoms or any respiratory difficulties, you should stay at home and avoid coming into contact with others. It is best to consult your doctor, and a Telemedicine consultation from home is an option that many patients can use to seek care and get prescriptions.
People should also be very careful about overreacting and from where they get information. The best source for information is medical professionals such as your doctor, and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. People should be especially careful of fake news that is spreading across social media platforms, misinformation from political figures, possible scammers looking to prey on frightened seniors, and dismiss foolish rumors such as people should be avoiding Chinese food and restaurants or you can become infected by Corona beer (completely false!).
Smart hygiene, managing social interaction, keep open lines of communication among family members, being well informed, avoiding unnecessary travel or crowds, and not being duped by bad actors are all smart strategies to get through the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Chris Orestis, is President of LifeCare Xchange and a nationally recognized healthcare expert and senior advocate. He has 25 years experience in the insurance and long-term care industries, and is credited with pioneering the Long-Term Care Life Settlement over a decade ago. Known as a political insider, Orestis is a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist who has worked in both the White House and for the Senate Majority Leader on Capitol Hill. Orestis is author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging, and has been speaking for over a decade across the country about senior finance and the secrets to aging with physical and financial health. He is a frequent columnist for Broker World, ThinkAdvisor, IRIS, and NewsMax Finance, has been a featured guest on over 50 radio programs, and has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, NBC News, Fox News, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, Investor’s Business Daily, PBS, and numerous other media outlets.