Senior citizens are being advised to limit the number of visits they accept to their homes, in order to reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This precaution is necessary as older persons, especially those with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, are at a higher risk of developing more severe illness from COVID-19, which can result in death.
Deputy Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Karen Nelson, made the call as she addressed a Senior Citizens Wellness Webinar, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday (October 1).
“If it’s not really urgent or crucial, we should really not allow [many visits] at home at this point in time,” she advised.
She noted, however, that in instances where the visits are necessary, seniors should ask visitors to ensure that they are symptom-free before entering their space.
“They also must be in conformance with the guidelines and principles set by the health institutions as they relate to washing [or sanitizing] of hands before entering your home, maintaining physical distancing [of at least six feet] and always wearing a mask,” she said, adding that seniors should also adhere to these principles.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and tiredness. Other symptoms are aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell. Serious symptoms, which require immediate medical attention, include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.
Nelson encouraged seniors to also reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 by engaging in regular physical activity, eating healthy meals, and getting plenty of rest.
During her presentation, the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer also gave demonstrations on how to properly sanitise hands and how to correctly put on, wear and remove a face mask.
Held under the theme ‘Advancing the Well-being of Older Persons amid COVID- 19’, the webinar was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the National Council for Senior Citizens.
Seniors tuning in were also treated to a presentation on proper nutrition, a brain teaser segment, a discussion on mental health, an engaging video on physical exercise, and were invited to participate in a live workout session.
A stay-at-home order is currently in place for persons 70 years and older. They are allowed to leave once per day for food, medicine, exercise and other necessities of life.
This restriction forms part of the Government’s efforts to control community spread of COVID-19 and to protect the most vulnerable from the virus.