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COVID-19: What Older Adults Should Know

Mar 22, 2020 | Health and Wellness

In times like the era of COVID-19, staying informed is key to staying healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is our go-to resource for recommendations on what older adults should know about novel coronavirus. Below, you can find their latest findings and recommendations as of March 19, 2020:

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day. Older adults are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Among adults with confirmed COVID-19 reported in the US:

  • Estimated percent requiring hospitalization
    • 31-70% of adults 85 years old and older
    • 31-59% of adults 65-84 years old
  • Estimated percent requiring admission to intensive care unit
    • 6-29% of adults 85 years old and older
    • 11-31% of adults 65-84 years old
  • Estimated percent who died
    • 10-27% of adults 85 years old and older
    • 4-11% of adults 65-84 years old

What you can do

  • If you have a serious underlying medical condition
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Avoid close contact (6 feet, which is about two arm lengths) with people who are sick.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services.
    • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
    • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick.
    • For more information on steps you can take to protect yourself, see CDC’s How to Protect Yourself

Stress and coping

  • Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis.
  • Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
  • Learn more about stress and coping.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • 911
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

For more information, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.