Coronavirus Particularly Vulnerable to Elderly

The virus crisis is especially harmful to those you are older, in nursing homes and have pre-existing health issues. Get the facts and take precautions.

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Coronavirus Particularly Vulnerable to Elderly
4 Min Read March 14th, 2020 Updated:April 26th, 2020

President Trump declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, all Americans are focused on how to prevent getting infected and how to care for those who are infected.

The CDC says older adults and those people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are of higher risk.

For those people in a long-term care facility the virus, poses a genuine risk. The question for them, like the rest of us, is how you can prevent becoming infected in the first place.

Group Setting Pose Added Danger to Infection

In any group setting the virus can easily be transmitted from one person to another. Any virus, including the COVID-19, can spread very easily and quickly between patients, staff, and visitors. Plus, those with cognitive issues may not understand social distancing and basic hygiene, which helps prevent infection. 

President Trump announced several steps to help protect those in long-term care facilities. These steps include restrictions on nursing home visitors. The goal is to protect the elderly and others with health issues who live in these facilities. 

This is the “most aggressive and decisive recommendation with respect to nursing home safety in the face of the spread of COVID-19”.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 

The guidelines include the cancelation of all group activities, group dining, and imposing active screening of both the residents and the healthcare personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms.

The CDC has published new guidelines:

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said nursing home visitation restrictions include all visitors and non-essential personnel. There will be few exceptions, although she mentioned that hospice and end-of-life situations would be allowed on a limited basis. These rules mirror what many facilities have already put into place voluntarily in order to protect patients and staff. Most facilities have already started temperature screenings.

Compare Common Virus Symptoms

As we are entering allergy season, and many other viruses have similar symptoms, testing for the COVID-19 will be essential. This chart shows the various common symptoms: 

On April 25, 2020 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added additional symptoms to its list of possible signs of infection of COVID-10. Earlier, they only noted fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms.

The new symptoms now include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Shortness of breath has also been changed to "shortness of breath or difficulty breathing."

Here is the full CDC list

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  4. Chills
  5. Repeated shaking with chills
  6. Muscle pain
  7. Headache
  8. Sore throat
  9. New loss of taste or smell

Some people also have a runny nose, but it rarely occurs with COVID-19. Plus, sneezing is still not a symptom of the virus. As many people suffer from seasonal allergies this is important to know.

According to reporting from CNN and Kaiser Health News, researchers are also noting unusual symptoms affecting the elderly.  Seniors might seem “off” — just not acting like themselves ― right after being infected by COVID-19.

They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, they also stop talking or simply collapse.

Take Action if You or Family Member are High-Risk

According to the CDC, if you or a family member are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Virus Crisis Guidelines

Read the full CDC guidelines here:

Testing for the virus has become a high priority. Both the public and private sectors are working toward mass testing. Home care providers will be able to test an individual in their home. However, if you have symptoms, stay at home and avoid other people. Experts say to call your doctor first instead of just going to the doctor or hospital. Be sure to use social distancing and wash your hands all the time. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

There is a tremendous amount of concern over the impact coronavirus is having on our health, the medical system, and our finances. The fears over the virus have also hit our pocketbook. This crisis has placed a spotlight on the idea of funding your future long-term care yourself. Depending on your own savings and investment to pay for your future long-term care and aging needs is not an ideal solution.

Depending on family members to be your future caregivers will only place a large amount of strain and stress on those you love. That is also not an ideal solution for either you or your family. 

Unexpected Future Events Require Advance Planning

Unexpected events, even in a good economy, will place a tremendous amount of pressure on your savings. We have seen the panic over the virus has had. The value of your 401(k) IRA and other accounts have probably dropped in value in a very short period-of-time during the crisis. 

This crisis was completely unexpected. Imagine if your family had to sell off assets to pay for your long-term care during a market drop? Your assets would be sold at a loss, but often, that loss will still be a taxable gain.

LTC Insurance Provides Guaranteed Tax-Free Benefits

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance provides you and your family with peace-of-mind knowing you will have guaranteed benefits giving you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility. You will be able to safeguard your savings as you reduce the stress otherwise placed on your family.

Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable, and rate stable income and asset protection. Start your research now, ideally in your 40s or 50s, as part of your retirement planning.

LTC NEWS Provides Tools for Research

Start your research by discovering the current and future cost of long-term care where you live. Use the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator by clicking here.

Premiums for Long-Term Care Insurance vary by over 100% for the same benefits. When you use the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist, they will be able to assist you in finding the best coverage at the best value. It will save you money and provide you with additional peace-of-mind. Be sure the specialist represents the major insurance companies and understands underwriting, policy design, the Long-Term Care Partnership Program, and claims. 

Find a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist by clicking here.

You hope you never experience another crisis like the coronavirus, but we know something may happen. You also wish you will never require long-term care services, but we know better. Planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging will give you access to your choice of quality care, protecting your savings and income, and reducing the stress otherwise placed on your family. 

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