In a letter to the Chief Secretary of states, R Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has said that the senior citizens aged above 60 years especially those with medical conditions are particularly susceptible to infections during the COVID times.
The Ministry along with Health Ministry and AIIMS has prepared an advisory to be followed by senior citizens and their care givers during these times.
Based on the Census 2011 age-cohort data, it is projected that there would be approximately 16 crore senior citizens of which there are 8.8 crore of those in the age group 60-69 years. 6.4 crore in the age group 70-79 years, assisted elders (above 80 years or people who require medical assistance) are 2.8 crore, indigent elders (destitute who are homeless or deserted by the families) is 0.18 crore.
The don’ts prescribed for senior citizens are not to come in close contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus disease (fever/cough/breathing difficulty).
They have been advised not to shake hands or hug friends and near ones, go to crowded places like parks, markets and religious places, cough or sneeze into bare hands. touch eyes, face and nose, self-medicate.
They have been asked not to go to hospital for routine checkup or follow up. As far as possible make teleconsultation with healthcare provider and not to invite family members and friends at home, says the advisory.
The do’s for mental well being is to communicate with relatives at home, communicate with neighbours, provided social distancing is followed, and gathering of people is avoided.
Senior citizens are advised to rediscover old hobbies like painting, listening to music, reading, make sure to access and believe only the most reliable sources of information, avoid tobacco, alcohol and other drugs to avoid loneliness or boredom.