Things You Can Do To Protect The Elderly From Coronavirus
April 11, 2020 | Farah Jassawalla

Things You Can Do To Protect The Elderly From Coronavirus

اردو میں پڑھیں

COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is sweeping through Pakistan, and those who will suffer the brunt of the disease will be our parents and grandparents – the elderly. Since childhood, Pakistanis have been taught to respect their elders, and now it is time to do just that – show respect and support them as much as you can.

Why elders are the highest risk group

Elders are the highest age group at risk of getting infected and potentially dying from coronavirus, with patients aged above 60 having a death rate of over 10%. Experts cite the following reasons for a high death rate among elders:

·       Weak immune system

·       Lack of regular exercise

·       Underlying health conditions such as hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which dampen immunity

·       Reduced lung function or capacity

Which age brackets are at most risk?

The age brackets with relevant death rates are mentioned below:

Age bracket

Death rate (%)











The figures above are based on research done in Italy, China, and Iran (countries most hard hit by COVID-19), so the death rates with age may vary in Pakistan. In Pakistan, anyone above the age of 60 can be considered high risk as well as those above the age of 40 who have underlying health conditions.

Precautions for elders

There are many precautions elders can and should take to ensure they avoid catching COVID19:

·       Self-isolate themselves by staying at home

·       Wash hands properly with soap before eating

·       Avoid touching any part of the face – mouth, eyes, and nose

·       Try to relax as much as possible by performing hobbies or relaxation techniques, especially if they have heart problems

·       Open house windows or doors during the daytime to reduce viral load in their house/room

·       Avoid hugging or shaking hands with others while maintaining about 1.5 meters distance with anyone they meet

·       Sleeping in separate rooms or beds from spouse to reduce the chances of getting COVID19

How to convince your parents or elders to take precautions

Unfortunately, the elderly all around the world and especially in Pakistan is not taking this coronavirus pandemic as seriously as they should. Many often joke around saying, 'it is just the flu' or 'the media is causing a panic'. Pakistanis have found it challenging to convince their parents to take this pandemic seriously since most parents are devoted Muslims and seem to think that their spirituality is enough to protect them from coronavirus. Here are some techniques that may help in making elders realize the threat of COVID-19:

Showing them evidence and statistics that old-aged people are at most risk

Making them aware that praying may help their cause, but it is not enough to keep them safe – even several Hadith say so

Inform them of simple actions and precautions they can take

Lead by example – take precautions yourself and your elders might follow you


A major precaution the elderly can take is getting themselves tested. Since coronavirus tests are only performed if a patient shows severe symptoms, most people cannot get directly tested for coronavirus because test kits and other resources need to be preserved. Instead, you can get some other tests done on your elders to determine if they have any underlying health conditions that present a threat or that indicate they have coronavirus. The following tests are advised especially if elders show mild symptoms of COVID19:

Complete blood count test, white blood count test or Annual Health Panel screening

Liver function test or Fatigue Panel Basic/Advance screening – recommended if elders are experiencing body aches or chills

Imaging tests of lungs to detect pneumonia-like MRI, X-ray or CT scans

Diabetes screening

Hypertension screening

Healthy Heart screening

On that note, please continue taking the relevant precautions to protect yourself and your elders. Do share the information mentioned in this article with others and help your community by raising awareness.


Recommended Packages

Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.