Massachusetts Medical Society: COVID-19 Information and Resources for the Older Adults, the Elderly and their Caregivers

COVID-19 Information and Resources for the Older Adults, the Elderly and their Caregivers

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) image


There is an increased risk of death from COVID-19 beginning at age 60. The highest risk of severe illness is in people 80 and older, especially in people who are older and have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. Many older adults depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence. The CDC recommends that family members, neighbors, and caregivers:

  • Know what prescribed and over-the-counter medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items and water, if necessary, to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • Stress hand washing and clean areas like door knobs, telephones, counter-tops, and television remotes frequently.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

COVID-19 information is continuing to evolve. Please check back regularly for updated guidance and information.

CDC Information for People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

Guidance for Long Term Care Facilities
Massachusetts Department of Public Health asks long term care facilities, including nursing homes and rest homes, to carefully review the current guidance from the CDC with all healthcare personnel and continue to prepare to care for residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 by implementing the measures listed on the DPH long-term care guidance webpage.

Restrictions on Visitors to Nursing Homes, Rest Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. On March 15th, DPH issued new guidance that bans all visitors to all assisted living residences to protect the health and safety of residents and staff during the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This is in addition to the federal guidance issued that bans visitors to nursing homes and rest homes. **There is an exception for certain compassionate care, such as end of life situations.

COVID-19: What Older Adults Need to Know (Video) – https://youtu.be/TjcoN9Aek24

The Gerontological Association of America Coronavirus Update
Resources on addressing the outbreak in older adults, including development of a vaccine in this month's issue of the National Adult Vaccination Program Newsletter. https://www.geron.org/programs-services/alliances-and-multi-stakeholder-collaborations/national-adult-vaccination-program?start=1

Massachusetts Senior Care Association
The Mass Senior Care Association site offers resources and support to assist long term care facilities with issues surrounding COVID-19 including recommendations for those visiting long term care and assisted living facilities. Their dedicated page daily provides daily updates on this rapidly evolving healthcare challenge. https://www.maseniorcare.org/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-resources

Coronavirus Scams
Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to phone and online scams. The Federal Trade Commission has a webpage on how to recognize and avoid coronavirus scams

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