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Coronavirus Elderly Advice – How can I look after my older relatives?

Older people are more likely to become severely ill if they catch coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Sevices, Montserrat. Generally, anyone over the age of 65 is considered an “older person” but there is no strict definition as people age at different rates.

The latest government advice is that everyone in the Montserrat should suspend all “non-essential contact with others” – but what measures are being taken and what advice is there for looking after older and elderly people?

What To Know About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The new coronavirus is spreading globally and here some basic things to know:

• Coronavirus is more severe and more contagious than the flu. Take it seriously but don’t panic.
• The elderly and immune-compromised are most at-risk, but everyone can get sick.
• If you are sick stay home, self-quarantine and call your doctor.
• Practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings, or small gatherings in tight spaces. At-risk people and people with underlying conditions should stay at home.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a backup option.
• Cough into a sleeve. Wash hands after coughing. Avoid touching your face.
• Sterilize things you touch often, like computers, phones, keys, and tablets.
• If you have prescriptions, call your doctor and ask for a 3-month supply in case of drug shortages.


Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Also watch out for fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Follow social distancing rules, wash your hands and ask for help

Social distancing is staying 6 feet away from others, not touching your face and really trying to avoid places where other people have been is very important. If you need to go to the store, use hand sanitiser: take some with you, use it frequently through your trip, and get back home as soon as you can.

Get Outside & Exercise

Getting out and going for a walk is absolutely ok before curfew (from the 26 March 2020 to 14th April 2020 Montserrat residents are subjected to a curfew from 7pm each night to 5am the next day). It’s probably one of the most important things you can do. We strongly encourage people to keep up their exercise routines, even if they’re using a walker and what they can manage is walking to the end of the road and back. Do it as many times a day as you can.

If You Have To Shop Use Senior Hours

Shopping during these hours might be safer with fewer people in the store. A variety of grocery stores have also been offering seniors-only hours first thing in the morning. That’s when surfaces in the store should have been recently cleaned. If it’s possible to go during senior hours, and you don’t have anyone to do your grocery shopping for you, we strongly encourage people to take advantage of that opportunity.

Victor’s supermarket is also offering its customers the opportunity to place their grocery orders on Facebook. You simply send them your shopping list via Facebook messenger and they will get back to you confirming the total. Then they will then give you a pickup time, when you can pay and collect your groceries.

From the 23rd March 2020, the Bank of Montserrat Ltd introduced an hour long senior citizens banking time. From 8am to 9am daily, will be reserved exclusively for persons 60 years and above to do their banking.

Find Ways To Overcome Isolation

Social isolation is a huge killer; it can be as bad as smoking cigarettes. Many older adults are going to see their networks of social contacts narrow, so it is important to increase your social contacts while you’re not having face-to-face contact. So, call people.

If you haven’t figured out social media in the past, this is the time to get your grandchild on the phone to show you how to set it up. Plenty of social media applications allow you to see people’s faces and communicate more realistically with friends and family.

Being Flexible With Changing Plans

Learning to adapt is one of the most important components of healthy aging, whether it’s adjusting to a walker, a hearing aid, or changing your shopping routine. A lot of older adults have those skills deep in them: remember, many people in the older generation lived through Slavery or World War II. Dig deep and bring those skills to bear.

Have A Plan For If You Do Get Sick

We recommend that you think about this before you develop symptoms or know that you’ve contracted the virus.  For anyone over 80 or with heart and lung disease, the outcomes of a severe coronavirus infection are very bad.

Stress And Coping

Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis. Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 999 or 1 (664) 491-2552/2802/2836, but if you are experiencing flu like symptoms call 1(664) 491 5346 / 496 9724.

Key Telephone Numbers

St. Peters Clinic: 1 (664) 491 5346 / 496 9724

Glendon Hospital: 1 (664) 491 2552 / 2802 / 2836

Golden Years: 1 (664) 491-7561 / 491-7255

Look Out Warden Support Unit: 1 (664) 496-4633 / 491-9905

The guidance provided on this page was derived from multiple sources including the BBC and the NHS. Please contact your local healthcare providers on the details provided above for up to date information, as the crisis develops.

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