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Governments, Communities Take Precautions to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus

Individuals that are at higher risk from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, the illness that results from the coronavirus, include those who have vulnerable immune systems or other underlying health conditions. This includes the primary demographic that the reverse mortgage industry serves, senior citizens, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Because seniors are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill, various governments across federal, state and local levels along with communities and businesses are taking special precautions in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus, and to give seniors extra attention in terms of protection and providing them with goods and services they require.

In an effort to try and give seniors a bit of an advantage in getting the goods that they need, some retailers across America are changing the structure of their hours in order to give seniors exclusive time in stores to shop. Retailers taking such measures include Dollar General (which is devoting its first business hour exclusively to senior shoppers, according to USA Today) and Stop & Shop (devoting the first 90 minutes of its day to seniors), while other retailers are altering their hours to close earlier in the day in order to adequately restock store shelves according to Fox News.

A Facebook post by the city government of Jersey City, N.J. also detailed that the local government there would be entering into conversations with local stores to create specific hours for senior shoppers.

“This [morning] we’ll be reaching out to all of the local grocery stores (3 registers or more) and we’re going to be setting aside hours at supermarkets for elderly residents, [people with] disabilities and pregnant residents only, during the hours of 9-11am starting Tuesday 3/17,” the post reads. “They are our most vulnerable residents [and] crowded supermarkets are a challenge in particular for these residents.”

In the state of California, Governor Gavin Newsom has called for all residents aged 65 and older to isolate themselves in their homes, in addition to mandating the closure of social gathering spaces including bars, nightclubs and wineries, according to the New York Times. The outlet estimated that the guidelines would affect roughly 5 million seniors who reside in the state of California.

“We need to meet this moment aggressively,” the governor said. “The most important thing is to protect our most vulnerable.”

Additionally, visits to assisted living facilities, hospitals and nursing homes have also been banned by the governor in an attempt to further slow the spread of the virus to vulnerable seniors, but visits will remain permitted for patients who are on the verge of imminent death.

In order to best protect vulnerable seniors from the threat of coronavirus infection, Americans are encouraged to closely follow the guidelines of the CDC, as well as state and local health officials. Clean and wash your hands often, avoid contact with high-touch surfaces in public places, avoid touching your face, clean and disinfect your home, and avoid crowds and non-essential travel wherever possible.

Reverse Mortgage Daily parent company Aging Media Network (AMN) is doing its part: as of now, all employees are mandated to work from home. Events that have been planned for the near-future at other AMN publications have been postponed, and employees will refrain from business-related travel for the foreseeable future.

Following the guidelines from health authorities and the practice of social distancing will help to minimize the strained resources of the American healthcare system, and will assist in protecting vulnerable seniors as much as possible.