Older Adults and COVID-19 | CDC

The risk of serious illness with COVID-19 increases with age. in older adults at highest risk.

For example, people in their fifties are at higher risk of developing serious illnesses than people in their forties. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are generally at greater risk of serious illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is in people aged 85 and over.

Major illness means a person with COVID-19 may need:

  • Hospitalization,
  • Intensive care or a
  • Ventilator to help them breathe easier, or
  • You can even die.

Age increases the risk of hospitalization

Older adults are at higher risk of being hospitalized or dying if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. As you age, the risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 increases.

Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to need to be hospitalized when they receive COVID-19

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk

Other factors can also increase your risk of serious illness, such as: B. certain underlying diseases. Understanding the factors that put you at increased risk can help you decide what precautions to take in your daily life.

If you have an underlying condition, you should continue to follow your treatment plan:

  • Continue your medication and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your doctor.
  • Have at least 30 days in stock of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about additional supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicine if possible to shorten your trips to the pharmacy.
  • Don't hesitate to get emergency medical care because of COVID-19. Emergency rooms have emergency infection prevention plans to keep you safe from COVID-19 when you need care.
  • Call your doctor if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick and think you may have COVID-19. If you need emergency assistance, call 911 immediately.
  • If you don't have a healthcare provider, Contact the nearest health centerexternal symbol

Reduce your risk of illness

Everyone, especially older adults and others at increased risk of developing serious illnesses, should take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Steps to Reduce Your Risk

It is especially important for people at increased risk of developing serious illnesses from COVID-19 and for those who live with or visit them protect oneself got from COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:

  • Wear a mask when interacting with others.
  • Limit your personal interactions with other people as much as possible, especially indoors.
  • Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is roughly 2 arm lengths).
  • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Then wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and things that you touch frequently.
  • Find out additional information for adults with disabilities.
  • How to protect yourself

If you feel sick and think you have COVID-19, contact your doctor within 24 hours.

Before going out or visiting family & friends

Take the risk into account Before you decide to go out and make sure that people at risk of developing serious illnesses from COVID-19 and those who live with them are taking steps to protect themselves.

There is no way to ensure that you are not at risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to understand the risks and how to reduce your risk as much as possible when resuming certain activities, running errands, and attending events and gatherings.

Consider the level of risk

In general, the more people you interact, the more closely you interact with them and the longer that interaction lasts. The higher your risk to get and spread the virus that causes COVID-19.

Before you go out, consider the following:

  • How many people will you interact with?
  • Can you keep 6 feet between you and others?
  • Will you be outside or inside
  • How long will you be interacting with people?
  • How likely is it that people will wear a mask?

Avoid activities where taking protective measures can be difficult. such as activities where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Take steps to protect yourself

Everyone should take steps to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from protecting and spreading itself, their communities, and people at increased risk for serious illnesses.

If you choose to do public activities:

  • Protect yourself with everyday preventive measures.
  • Plan on shopping trips when shops are typically less crowded in the early morning or late evening. Older adults can use “senior times” when shopping.
  • Use alternatives to on-site restaurants, e.g. B. Delivery, take-away and collection on the roadside.
  • Have these items handy and use them when you go: a mask, tissues, and hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid others who don't wear masks or ask others around you to wear masks

Wear masks

Black doctor and mature patient wearing protective face masks while talking in the clinic waiting room

Masks prevent people from getting and spreading the virus, especially those who may not know they have it.

  • Masks should be worn over the nose and mouth. Masks are especially important to protect one another when it is difficult to stay at least 3 meters away from others or when people are indoors.
  • Masks prevent people from getting and spreading the virus.
  • CDC recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. Some older adults with cognitive, sensory, or behavioral problems may have difficulty wearing a mask. Whenever possible, adjustments and alternatives should be considered to improve the feasibility of wearing a mask or to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when wearing a mask is not possible. These adults need to take extra precautions when interacting with others. Additionally, some older adults may rely on lip or facial expression reading for social interactions. This can be difficult when others are wearing masks that cover large parts of their face.

Promote social distancing during your visit

Two hikers outside by the lake wearing fabric face masks

Consider activities where social distancing can be maintained, such as socially distant walks around the neighborhood or facility, use technology (e.g. laptop, mobile devices) to keep in touch, and play digital games with friends and family , or enjoy a new hobby.

  • If possible, visit your friends and family outdoors. If this is not possible, make sure that the room or space is well ventilated (such as open windows or doors) and is large enough to handle social distancing. Keep a distance of 6 feet.
  • Arrange tables and chairs so that social distance is created. People from the same household can be together in groups and do not have to be three feet apart.
  • Avoid close contact with your visitors. For example, do not shake hands, bump your elbows, or hug each other. Instead, wave and say hello to them.
  • Whenever possible, avoid other people who are not wearing masks or ask others around you to wear masks.
  • Keep a list of the people you have visited or who have visited you and when the visit took place. This helps with contact tracking when someone gets sick.
  • Learn about additional considerations for adults with developmental or behavioral disorders who may have difficulty with social distancing.

Practice hand hygiene often

Washing hands with soap to prevent corona virus

Everyone should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before preparing, serving, or eating food.

  • Everyone should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at the beginning and end of the visit, and if you think your hands are contaminated.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, e.g. For example, when visiting outdoors or doing activities, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all the surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Use disposable towels or paper towels to dry your hands to avoid sharing towels. Have a touchless trash can ready.
  • Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces or shared objects.

When to postpone or cancel a visit

  • Delay or cancel a visit if you or your visitors are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home and watch for symptoms.
  • Take into account the current COVID-19 infection rates in your specific community. If infection is widespread, you should delay or cancel a visit.

Precautions for nursing homes and senior housing facilities

If you, a family member or friend live in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other type of senior citizen facility, you may be concerned about COVID-19.

To protect friends and family members in these facilities, the CDC has recommended that long-term care facilities:

  • Restrict visitors,
  • Require or encourage visitors (including health care workers, rescuers, and staff) to wear masks over their noses and mouths when visitors allow.
  • Allow visits only at selected times and limit the number of visitors per inhabitant (e.g. no more than 2 visitors at the same time).
  • Schedule visits in advance to allow for continued social distancing.
  • Limit visits to the resident's room or any other specific location in the facility (e.g. outside).
  • Check health workers and residents regularly for fever and symptoms
  • Limit activities within the facility to keep residents away from each other.

Learn about the risks posed by people living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities and the CDC's guidelines for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)pdf icon

If you are sick or think you may be exposed to COVID-19

Contact your doctor and seek care

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor within 24 hours and follow the steps if you feel sick. You can use the CDC self-checker to make decisions.
  • If you, or someone you know, have emergency COVID-19 warning signs (for example, difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face) See an emergency doctor immediately. Call 911.
  • If you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, contact your doctor. If you don't have a health care provider, contact the nearest community health centerexternal symbol
  • You can visit your state or locationexternal symbol

Check your symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure.

In some cases, older adults and people of all ages with underlying illnesses may have symptoms that others normally don't, or they may take longer than others to develop a fever and other symptoms.

The fever temperature may be lower in older adults

In older adults (65 years of age and older), normal body temperature may be lower than in younger adults. For this reason, fever temperatures may be lower in older adults too.

If you have a fever or other symptoms as an older adult and want to be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, see your doctor first. You can also visit your state or regionexternal symbol

When caring for a patient 65 years of age or older, be aware that a single reading above 37.8 ° C (100 ° F), multiple readings above 37.2 ° C (99 ° F), or a rise in temperature Greater than 2 ° C F (1.1 ° C) above the patient's normal (base) temperature can be a sign of infection

Develop a care plan

A care plan summarizes your:

  • Diseases,
  • Medication,
  • Health care provider,
  • Emergency contacts and
  • End-of-life care options (e.g., advance directives).

Complete your care plan in consultation with your doctor and, if necessary, with the help of a family member, a caregiver, or a home health worker.

A care plan can have benefits beyond the current pandemic. You can update your care plan every year or whenever your health or medication changes. Care plans can help reduce emergency admissions and hospital stays, and improve overall medical management for people with chronic illnesses, resulting in a better quality of life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a care plan is an important part of emergency preparedness.

Everyday Steps to Stay Healthy

It's important to stay healthy during the pandemic. Talk to your doctor about whether your vaccinations and other preventive measures are up to date to prevent you from developing other diseases.

  • It is especially important that people at increased risk of developing serious illnesses, including older adults, receive recommended vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal disease.
  • Remember the importance of staying physically active and practicing healthy habits to manage stress.
  • Talk to your doctor about maintaining prevention services like cancer screenings during the pandemic.
  • If you have a medical emergency, don't hesitate to seek emergency assistance.
  • Stress can be increased during this pandemic. Anxiety and fear can be overwhelming and provoke strong emotions. Learn more about stress and coping.
  • Receive tips in English on how to stay connected at homepdf icon

Get help at home

Assistance is available if you need help with meals, household chores, home repairs, personal hygiene, home health services, or transportation to your medical appointments and pharmacy. Visit the Eldercare Locator for help in your wardexternal symbol

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