Health Info & Resources for Seniors
One of the positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the development of innovative ways to provide health care services to patients at home. For example, within a matter of a very short time, St. Luke’s greatly expanded its ability to connect patients with primary care physicians, medical specialists, and physical, occupational and speech therapists. Patients connect with health care providers through a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone, using an on-line meeting program, such as Microsoft Teams meeting.
As we stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Roopa Anmolsingh of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates reminds us to keep older adults socially connected.
St. Luke’s Encourages Seniors to Practice Physical Distancing, not Social Isolation
While it’s important to pull together to slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, be sure to stay connected socially, advises Roopa Anmolsingh, MD of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates.
To maintain your current fitness as you grow older, it’s important to make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a short period of inactivity can result in significant loss of fitness. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working out at least 150 to 300 minutes per weeks, says John Graham, senior network administrator, Fitness & Sports Performance, St. Luke’s University Health Network. That equates to 30-60 minutes per day at least five days per week.
Area health care providers remind patients of the importance of seeking medical services to address chronic and acute health conditions as Pennsylvania begins to lift some of the restrictions enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19. Dennis McGorry, MD, St. Luke’s primary care physician, said the benefit of seeing your doctor during an in-person to manage a chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, far outweighs any potential risk of exposure to COVID-19. Precautions in place at doctors’ offices and hospitals address patient safety.
To reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19, it’s important to heed the recommendations of public health officials regarding social distancing but that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up indoors, says geriatric specialist Roopa Anmolsingh, MD of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates.
“It’s true that older adults are more susceptible to both getting COVID-19 and having serious complications from it,” she says. She explains that as we age, our immune system also changes in its ability to fight disease and our cells become less adept at identifying pathogens, which are organisms that cause disease. To make matters worse, many older adults have other conditions, such as malnutrition, diabetes, COPD and cardiovascular disease, which lower their ability to fight an infection.
By 2050 it is estimated that 32 million Americans will be living with some form of dementia. That puts tremendous pressure on us living in the Lehigh Valley community to help improve the lives of people living with diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Early Onset Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Vascular Dementia, etc. Surely there are opportunities for people to move to memory care accommodations in the Lehigh Valley, but that is not the solution for the large majority of people living with these diseases. Family members want to provide care ‘at home’ for their loved one who is living with the disease, and long term care in a quality memory support care facility may not be financially feasible.