Coronavirus is the story of 2020, and, sadly, the end is not yet in sight. No matter who you are or where you live, you are likely quarantined in your home, taking precautions to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19.
This is doubly true for seniors. Older adults have to be extra careful about how they interact with friends, family, and strangers, and it is recommended that this segment of the population not leave their homes.
This can create a hard situation for seniors, who may be running low on provisions. Especially vulnerable are individuals who may not have any close living family or friends, who truly are alone in their time of need. If you have such individuals in your community, church, friend group, or extended family, you can literally save lives by reaching out and providing necessary aid. Here are some of the best items you can give to seniors during the coronavirus crisis, as well as best practices for delivering them without putting these individuals in danger.
What to Give to Quarantined Seniors
The best way to know what a quarantined senior needs is to ask. Each older adult has unique needs that may not be obvious unless they reveal them to you. So if you have a quarantined person in mind, give them a call and see what they might request.
If you want to give to a local senior but don’t have this kind of relationship with them, there are general donations that can be very useful to just about anyone. Here are a few suggestions that will be well-received.
Some seniors may be avoiding the grocery store altogether, and thus may be running low on fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’ve worked deep into your pantry stash when fresh items in the fridge are running low, you know the feeling. Fruit and vegetables aren’t expensive, either, making this an affordable way to help.
Prepared Hot Food
As at least one source has noted, hot food may not transmit the virus, and therefore, can be taken into the home. Delivering meals to seniors is thought to be safe, as long as the older individual takes steps to open the container without touching it, washing their hands if they do touch it, or can sterilize the outside of the container before bringing it inside – Tupperware is easiest to whip down with alcohol-based wipes.
Cleaning and Safety Supplies
Gloves, face masks, sanitation spray, and other anti-virus gear are in short supply, and may not be available to local seniors in quarantine. If you are able to source these materials, give a few to the older folks. They’ll make good use of them.
It should go without saying that many Americans are feeling cash-strapped at the moment, especially those who have lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours. Many older adults live on a limited income and may be experiencing higher bills during this crisis, such as preventative expenditures like grocery delivery, additional medications, or increased prices on essential goods. For the same reason that government stimulus checks won’t be unwelcome to anyone, giving financial assistance to needy seniors will be appreciated. If they won’t accept money directly, you can also offer them a gift card or offer to load extra funds onto their delivery app for groceries or food.
When donating to older adults, make sure to be extra cautious about sanitation, especially if you are interacting directly with the individual to whom you are giving the items. Wear a mask, sanitize your hands before and after the interaction, and consider placing items on the porch and leaving before the person comes outside.
In the end, make sure to give only when your gift is needed, as sometimes staying away is the best way to promote the health of older adults near you. However, if you do know of such an individual in need, try to find a safe way to help that person.
If you are looking for ways to clean the home this spring, make sure to check out our blog on 10 Spring Cleaning Tips! If you want to provide additional support to your immune system, shop NHC’s specially curated Immune Support page that features hundreds of products that were hand-selected by our on-staff nutritionist!