How can we protect the elderly from a second wave of Covid-19 infections?

If there is a sector of the population that has suffered the most from the Covid-19 virus, it has been that of our elders. The majority of severe complications and mortality cases, both in Spain and in the rest of the world, affect a large percentage of the elderly, and therefore have become a priority for everyone. Keeping them isolated, with the stipulated prevention measures and with the greatest attention paid to them, is essential to prevent a possible wave of infections from affecting them again. Precisely, that is one of the key questions that we all ask ourselves: How can we protect the elderly from a second wave of Covid-19 infections? In order to respond to this and other related questions of interest, we have spoken with the Geriatric specialist doctor, president of the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SEGG), José Augusto García Navarro.

1. Should social distance be maintained with the elderly, even if that means giving up kisses and hugs?

When the absolute end of the epidemic has been decreed, it is necessary to return to normality. During partial unconfinement, you obviously have to maintain social distance. To fight that natural urge to hug your loved ones after so long, it is best to explain the situation well to them. This infection especially affects older people, and more those with chronic diseases. On the other hand, children are affected in a milder way, they can be asymptomatic and transmitters of the disease but they are not noticed, which makes them a time bomb. Certain contacts should be allowed, but it is essential to maintain prudence in interactions with children. What grandchildren have to do is interact a lot with their grandparents but at a distance, for that the little ones know how to use technology very well. They can play games together, homework, even exercise.

How can we help them lose their fear of going outside?

The main thing is to give good information. Going out accompanied increases the feeling of security and contact is a cognitive stimulus, making it doubly positive. In order to have a healthy aging, social interaction, keeping your head active, talking with your partner, going shopping, socializing with friends is essential …

What changes will nursing homes and nursing homes have to introduce after this health crisis?

There will be a tutoring and involvement of the health services. Nursing will play a very important role, which must be greatly reinforced. There will be a rethinking of the care model in the residences in complete safety. It will have to be dealt with serenely, without drastic solutions. Regardless of the model reached, the level of control over these devices will be increased.

How can we protect the elderly from a second wave of Covid-19 infections?

What we have to do is increase the knowledge about how to treat it in hospitals, the arrival of the vaccine, its possible seasonality … If the second wave of coronavirus occurs at the end of this year or next year, You will find us much more prepared. This has caught us off guard and we did not know the virus as a human species. At SEGG we are exchanging knowledge acquired between the autonomous communities and the countries of Latin America. In one of the last telematic conferences there were 2,386 professionals connected, all sharing a lot of information.

In addition to our elders, many other areas of our lives have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. With Spain already at different stages of de-escalation, many doubts continue to assail us. To solve them we have had the help of eleven experts in different subjects analyzing all the fields in the guide 'The day after' that you can download for free here.

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