In the current global pandemic, we’re being fed a lot of information from both the news media and the nation’s leading health experts such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization).

While everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, senior citizens have been named as one of the most at-risk groups. What precautions can you take to ensure you’re adequately protecting yourself?

According to the CDC, you can take the following steps to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Stay home if possible.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths).
  • Keep away from people who are sick.
  • Stock up on supplies.
  • 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.
  • Know how it spreads:
    • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
    • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
      • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
      • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
      • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
      • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Coping With Stress

You may find this time of outbreak to be especially stressful. Fear and anxiety are common during times of uncertainty and may cause you to feel strong emotions.

It’s important to find ways you can reduce stress and get your mind off of the pandemic when possible. Everyone copes in different ways. How you respond may depend on your background, any underlying conditions you may have, your risk, and the community in which you live.

It’s important to take care of your mental health during this time. Here are some tips from the CDC to help you cope with pandemic-related stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including 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.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with emotions, such as sadness, depression, or anxiety, be sure to:

  • Call 911.
  • Call the Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.