Coronavirus Pandemic

Combating coronavirus: Families help elderly in UAE beat #StayHome blues

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 13, 2020 | Last updated on June 13, 2020 at 11.32 pm
Combating, COVID19, coronavirus, Families, help elderly, UAE, beat, #StayHome, blues

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Families have made adjustments not only to keep them healthy - but also to help them beat #StayHome blues.

Heeding public health advisories about taking extra steps to protect the elderly from the Covid-19 virus, families have made adjustments not only to keep them healthy - but also to help them beat #StayHome blues.

Varis Sayed, whose elderly mother is a UAE resident, is confined to the house like several others who are practising social distancing.

He makes it a point to help his mum keep a regular routine, with light exercises, cooking, gardening and playing with her grandkids. Prayer is also a part of her daily life, which provides her with peace and comfort.

"In order to ensure my mum's safety and the family's overall wellbeing, we have become more particular about sanitisation standards in the house, changing clothes immediately after entering the house and needless to say, avoiding outsiders in the house," said Varis.

Government advice

In reply to a question on people above 60 years at the latest Covid-19 status briefing in the UAE, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, said it would be best for them to stay home.

"As this is a critical time, senior people must avoid public and crowded places," she said.

For people above 60 years, there is an increasing risk of this disease, especially if they have serious chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

"My parents have age-related illnesses and I am concerned about their stock of medicines, which is likely to run out soon," said Kanchan Rao-Rose, an Irish national of Indian origin, whose parents are in the country on a visit. But their three-month stay has had to be extended because of the pandemic.

In order to keep them emotionally and physically fit, she takes them out for occasional drives, engages them with minor household chores, while they enjoy sitting in the balcony to get some sun. 

Docs' guide on taking care of seniors

Use telehealth facilities

Dr Mohamed Rafique, medical director, pulmonologist and chair of infection control at Prime Hospital, said: "Elderly people should avoid going to hospitals or clinics. Also, modification of medicines or prescription adjustments should only take place after proper consultation with the physician. This can be done by just calling the doctor."

Keep their environment clean

Preventive measures like physical distancing is the only way forward while taking care of the elderly. "it is imperative they stay in sanitised environments," said Dr Rafique.

Communicate with them

Reflecting on the psychological and mental impact of the disease on the ageing population, Dr Bassem Badr, consultant psychiatrist at Life Works, said: "Do not emotionally distance yourself from them, use technology. Children and grandchildren should make regular audio and video calls to check on their health. They should help the elderly to stock up their medicines and help with rationing. Show increased support and care towards them."

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