One of the recommendations from health officials during the coronavirus pandemic is to practice social distancing as much as possible. But what does that really mean?
What Does Social Distancing Even Mean?
The term social distancing is a new one for many people and it sounds like the opposite of what you want to do when people are ill and might need help. But what it really means is that you and your senior need to maintain physical distance from people who are not in your household. It’s about keeping physical space from other people to minimize the spread of germs, particularly the germs that can lead to Covid-19.
Staying Home and Slowing the Risk of Infection Is Vital
The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is highly contagious. It can live on surfaces and in the air for longer periods of time than most viruses can. By keeping distance from other people who could potentially be carriers of the coronavirus, your senior can minimize the risk of becoming infected herself. That’s important because Covid-19 is particularly devastating for older adults.
Social Distancing Protects All Sorts of Vulnerable People
Social distancing is about protecting the most vulnerable people in society from the spread of this illness. The novel coronavirus is mild for many people, but it can be much more severe in people with underlying health conditions. The other problem is that so many people can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. That means that they don’t even know that they’ve got the virus, they have no symptoms themselves, but they can pass the virus along to people who would suffer greatly if they caught it. Social distancing is a way for everyone to avoid passing the virus along.
The Details on Following through with Social Distancing
In practice, social distancing involves keeping lots of space between your senior and other people. Six feet is the minimum recommended distance, but that can be difficult in places like the grocery store. That’s why there are also recommendations to limit gatherings to fewer than ten people at a time and many stores and businesses are limiting how many people can enter the building at any given time. Ideally your senior should be staying at home as much as possible to avoid being in public much at all.
Even with social distancing your senior can still get the help that she needs on a daily basis. Elder care providers can practice social distancing and be there for your elderly family member at the same time.