ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and observe guidelines from the HSE and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) following the announcement of a case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the east of Ireland. Older people may be more vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19, due to compromised or weakened immune systems or pre-existing health issues. ALONE is advising older people to remain calm and follow the relevant preventative measures to stay well in order to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “We advise that older people remain calm yet vigilant until the threat of coronavirus subsides. Viruses such as these often pose more of a threat to older people, who may have compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions. 45% of the people who use ALONE’s services are over the age of 80, and understandably outbreaks such as this can be very worrying. Over the next few days, ALONE’s services will be reaching out to older people in the community who may be vulnerable or concerned, to offer them the support and advice that they need. We are also reaching out to the HSE to coordinate our response.”
ALONE advises that older people practice the following precautions to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while out and about:
- Wash hands regularly, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections or other illnesses.
- Individuals with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
Moynihan continued, “It is important that older people follow all HSE guidelines and take all preventative measures as recommended; wash your hands regularly and use alcohol based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of bacteria. It is also important that individuals of all ages, though they may not be among vulnerable groups themselves, remember to be conscious of their potential to spread Coronavirus and other winter illnesses, and to take similar precautions.”
Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of Coronavirus should immediately isolate themselves from others and contact their GP by phone. ALONE is advising older people who are concerned about their own wellbeing to be mindful of good hygiene practices, to contact their local GP or healthcare provider by telephone and to ask for assistance and help if needed.
Contact ALONE 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community. Further information, including advice and tips for older people in extreme weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie.
Additional information can be found via the following links