Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that this fall we will most likely experience a second wave of COVID-19. Many health officials are suggesting that Americans prepare over the summer for the potential of widespread illness and more stay-at-home orders.
In case of an outbreak, what can older adults do to protect themselves and their families?
Here are recommendations for how to prepare now to be ready for another outbreak.
1. What should I buy now to prepare?
The US Department of Homeland Security, before a pandemic strikes, store a two-week supply of water and food, as well as over-the-counter medications you tend to take.
Items to consider stocking up on for your pantry:
- Canned soup, vegetables, fruit
- Crackers, snacks
- Hand soap
- Paper towels
- Lysol, Clorox wipes, laundry detergent
- Toilet paper: this goes without saying, right?
- Disposable gloves
- Chocolate: This is my favorite, as a staple and a smile maker.
2. What should I do about groceries if I can’t or should not go out this fall?
Many online grocery options have been overwhelmed during the recent COVID 19 pandemic. Nevertheless, many of these online options are gearing up on supplies, workers, and delivery options in preparedness for the fall. Consider joining and using the service now while demand eases off, so when ordering online becomes more popular again, you are already in the queue.
Some online shopping options to look into include:
- Fresh Direct
- Thrive Market
- Walmart Online Grocery Delivery
- Whole Foods
Another option to look into for grocery delivery is your local senior Village. A Village is a neighborhood-based nonprofit membership organization supported by volunteers that work to keep older adults living safely, comfortably, and act in their own homes. Some Villages are providing once weekly grocery delivery for full-time members. To learn more contact your local Village Network.
3. What should I have in my medicine cabinet?
Before a pandemic, it is recommended to periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure you have a continuous supply in your home if needed.
Some additional suggestions you may want to consider obtaining, in consultation with your Primary Care Physician, include:
- A list of all your medications, vitamins, supplements: keep this current
- Thermometer: for your use, guest use, and/or caregiver.
- Check with your doctor to see if you should have: Pulse Oximeter, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, throat lozenge, cough medicine, Pedialyte/Gatorade
- First aid kit: band-aids, gauze pads, hydrocortisone, tweezers, nail clippers, q-tips. If you have been worried like me, you may be picking at your nails/have not been able to get out for a manicure.
4. What documents should I be sure to have access to if I need to go to the hospital?
We have learned that this virus has changed the way we had been living our life. Emergency rooms and hospitals have always welcomed family members and visitors to assist their patients in the healing and recovery of illness and surgery. That has not been an option with COVD-19. You will be alone in these settings without direct contact and touch with those you care for and about.
Lists/Documents to have in one place:
- Power of Attorney: make copies
- Advance Directive/Living Will
- Medication list: yes, I have it twice because it is that important
- List of phone numbers: Emergency Contact, Family members, Physicians, Neighbor
- Medical history, current diagnosis, past diagnosis, surgeries, allergies to food/ medications
- Copy of insurance cards: front and back
- Copy of Photo ID
- MOLST form if you have one
- Long term care policy information (if you have one)
What to leave behind:
- Wedding rings
- All jewelry
- Wallet and money
What to take:
- Hearing aids and batteries
- All documents listed below
5. Stay informed:
If you have more questions about the Novel Coronavirus, stay up to date on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.
Experts agree that the most important thing you can do is not panic and stay informed.
It’s important now to plan and have a conversation with your family and/or the important people in your life about what you want to happen if you contract COVD-19. This will benefit not only you, but those close to you, and all the medical staff who will be taking care of you.