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Keeping Tampa Area Seniors Safe and Healthy at Home During COVID-19

Senior Helpers in Tampa is actively monitoring the progression of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, to ensure that we have the most accurate and latest information to share with our clients, caregivers and families. As you know, this situation continues to develop rapidly as new cases are identified and our protocols will be adjusted as needed.

While most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing only fever and cough, a small percentage of cases become severe and may progress particularly in the elder population as well as in people with underlying medical conditions. Because this is the primary population that Senior Helpers Tampa serves, we understand your concerns and want to share with you how our organization is responding to the threat of COVID-19 and some tips and resources to help you stay healthy. 

We are following updates and procedures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Florida Department of Health, local and county authorities, the Home Care Association of America and other agencies and resources. Our response and plans may adjust according to the recommendations from these organizations. Based on updates and procedures from these sources and our internal protocols, the following information is intended to keep you informed and help you and your family take measures to limit your exposure to the virus. 

General COVID-19 Prevention Tips

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical help. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces. 
  • Eat well, drink lots of water and get rest to strengthen your immune system. 
  • Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back up support, if possible.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. 
  • If you have underlying medical issues that put you in the high-risk category, avoid large public gatherings or other places outside the home. Limit your contact with others.
  • Create an emergency contact list (family, friends, neighbors)
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible. Clean these daily.
  • In the event, you develop these flu-like symptoms including fever at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, and shortness of breath, we request that you contact us directly to assist with your care and efforts to prevent the virus from spreading. 

Additional information and resources can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

How to Know if You Should Get Tested

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

COVID-19 Tips for Senior Helpers Caregivers

When providing daily care to a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, caregivers face special challenges. COVID-19 may present additional concerns because dementia related behaviors, increased age, and common health conditions may create additional needs.

For example, people with dementia may forget to wash their hands or take other recommended precautions. Conversely, viruses like COVID-19 and the flu may worsen cognitive impairment due to dementia.

In addition to following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), caregivers for people living with dementia should consider the tips included in this document from the Department of Elder Affairs for the State of Florida and the Dementia Care & Cure Intiative. 

Download here.