We all are very aware that the coronavirus affects the elderly symptomatically at a much higher rate than other age groups, but recent articles are suggesting a much greater impact that has not yet been reported on.
Those who are older and also in a high-risk category should use preventative actions to avoid infection, such as cleaning hands with soap and water or sanitiser, avoiding people outside of their household and staying up to date on vaccinations such as the flu vaccine.
The common symptoms of COVID-19 are loss of smell, coughing and a fever. However, a new study has shown that delirium is a key sign in frail individuals for the coronavirus. The study highlights that doctors and carers of the elderly should be more aware of delirium in the elderly, as this is a possible warning sign of the patient or household member contracting the virus, even without any other symptoms.
Along with tiredness and breathlessness, delirium is more common in frailer people compared to fitter individuals of the same age.
Should you believe that you or any other member of your family have contracted COVID-19, we offer swab and antibody tests to put your mind at ease. The swab tests, along with a certificate, can also be used as evidence if you are travelling abroad. To find out more about our tests click here.
Another study reports that depression and anxiety symptoms were twice as common among high-risk older individuals who were socially isolating compared with average-risk individuals. Loneliness can cause issues such as depression and anxiety, which was a common feeling in shielded group participants who were strictly isolating.
Now that shielding individuals are able to, it is a great idea to keep healthy by being active outside - people who were in the shielded groups were more likely to be less physically active than usual. This may mean going outside with your elderly relative to the shops or to the park, or speaking to them over the phone as they walk outside to deter the feeling of loneliness.
What can we do?
At My Specialist GP, we are aware of the effects that loneliness can have on individuals and want to always put the patient's needs first. Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to continue to offer face to face appointments, so that we can see you as a whole person and not just one symptom. To book a consultation with one of our doctors, click here.
We are able to provide telephone appointments should you not feel comfortable visiting. If you do visit, we have hand sanitising stations readily available as you walk into the surgery, and ensure that the waiting area is not full so that we can all remain socially distant.
If you are unable to come into the surgery, we offer home visits if you are within our catchment area, so those that may not be able to leave the house can still be seen by our specialist Doctors.
We also offer a senior membership plan, suited to patients who are currently housebound or in residential care, or who have relatives far away that would like the peace of mind about their elderly family member.