Catching COVID-19 is risky if one is over sixty, and much riskier for people in their eighties. It’s likely that your mother or father is taking steps to self quarantine. You have probably talked to your parents about the need to avoid big social gatherings by now.
First, the Good News
Despite the statistics, there are many very old people who survive COVID-19, exiting hospitals to the applause of their friends and fans on the hospital staff. In Turkey, 107 year-old Havahan Karadeniz survived the virus with a hospital stay that was only approximately a week long.
Closer to home, William Lapschies of Portland, Oregon won his battle with COVID-19 at the age of 103 and went on to celebrate his next birthday. A World War II veteran, Lapschies had only a mild case of the virus and may have responded to a malaria drug.
The Long Haulers
Unfortunately, some people who survive the virus are not so lucky. The term “long-haulers” has been coined to describe people who survive coronavirus, but continue to feel sick and unable to return to normal.
Many of these people are under sixty. Still, the Scientific American warns that we should not expect all seniors who survive the virus to function as fully as they did before. Seniors are at a higher risk of death and also at a higher risk of ongoing complications.
Inflammation causes scarring, and scarring can have permanent effects. In addition, COVID survivors may have elevated liver enzymes, Many survivors report chronic fatigue and an inability to return to work.
What to Expect
First and foremost, if your loved one survives coronavirus, understand it may be a long haul to full recovery. Full recovery can take months, whether or not the patient was on a ventilator or even hospitalized. This longer recovery period will be more common in the elderly.
Seniors who come home from the hospital after surviving may need oxygen for a few days. They will need to guard against dehydration. Some will need IV fluids to prevent dehydration from becoming clinical.
And, while most people do eventually recover, a minority of the elderly will be left with less functionality than they had before. It is wise to prepare for this possibility.
Senior Care Can Be a Godsend
A senior returning from the hospital as a coronavirus survivor may need quite a bit more help than she did before. Senior care is an optimal way to make sure that your senior is getting the monitoring and attention she needs. Senior care workers not only do chores that a survivor might be too fatigued to do: cooking, cleaning, and other housework, these assistants also look closely for signs that a senior is having trouble breathing or has developed a fever.
In conclusion, many seniors will beat the odds and recover from COVID-19. Some may have damaged functionality, but many others will recover their full strength over time. Many seniors coming home from the hospital will need more help than they did before. Senior care can bridge the gap between what a senior is capable of doing for herself and what she needs.