Older persons are an important part of our community in the Cayman Islands, and, according to the 2018 census figures produced by the Economics and Statistics Office, they account for 7.5% of the population.
Here are some tips on how you can support older persons in the Cayman Islands during the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping them safe.
Stop the Spread
Although COVID-19 has no age barrier, worldwide older persons are considered as one of the most vulnerable groups to the effects of COVID-19. According to statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), about 8 of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. are adults 65 years old and older.
Because of this it is important to make sure to:
- Stay home unless absolutely essential, and follow the curfew guidelines
- Wash your hands frequently
- Observe social distancing – limiting your exposure to other people, limits the chance of spreading the virus.
- Observe 'respiratory etiquette' which means wearing a face mask or covering when in certain enclosed public spaces like supermarkets.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing means maintaining 6 feet of distance minimum from those outside of your household (where you live). For those who do not live with you this means:
- No hugging or touching of any kind
- Reduce and limit interactions
- Do not pass or share food
- Do not go to or invite over other households
Exercising at Home
Regular exercise is an important habit for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for persons of all ages, and can help improve your immune responses to many viruses such as COVID-19.
Some simple ways for older persons to help build and maintain health by getting some exercise are:
- Lifting food tins for 5 to 10 gentle reps for about 5 to 10 minutes while sitting
- Mild daily stretches, beginning with the head and working your way down
- Taking deep breaths
Mental health is equally important.
People find that during times of crisis their mood and feelings are affected. Feelings of stress, fear and worry may also manifest as more physical changes such as unhealthy eating habits and difficulty sleeping. To help reduce the burden you should encourage older persons to:
- Take a break from the news – sometimes the constant information might be burdensome
- Stay in contact with persons they love – they can do so by phone, video, e-mail or text message.
- Try to keep a regular schedule – plan out your days so there is some sense of routine
- Get plenty of sleep – proper rest is important for all, and can also help your body protect itself
If you need a bit of extra assistance, have any concerns, or need somebody to talk to, you can call 1-800-534-6463 (MIND) Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm to talk to our Mental Health Hotline.
Entertainment & Hobbies:
Everyone should make time to do the things they love - this is the perfect time to get invested in hobbies at home.
Some ideas for activities you can encourage older persons to do are:
- Gardening (if they have outdoors space)
- Jig-saw, crossword or word search puzzles
- Creative writing
- Board games like Ludo and Dominoes (if you live with your family)
If your older loved one is good with technology, you can also have more opportunities for virtual interaction with you and their family. Some good options for ways to use technology and maintain a communication during this time are:
- FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp video and messaging
- Virtual tours (countries, concerts, museums)
- Watch live-streaming local worship services – many churches now share messages online via YouTube and Facebook Live
- Play online games and apps with family and friends (e.g. Words with Friends)
If you have an older person in your community, but not in your household, you could also arrange to check on them regularly via telephone to make sure they are okay, feel connected, and have everything they need.
Lending a Helping Hand
It is important to support each other in this time of crisis. If you know of an older person who needs support, there are ways that you can help:
- Volunteer to go shopping on their behalf and deliver their items. You can shop for others, providing you do not enter their house if they do not live in your household. Leave groceries outside, and maintain social distancing at all times.
- Set them up with online shopping. Some grocery stores have begun to offer delivery services through which you choose your groceries online. These will arrive at their door and often take payment over the phone.
- Reach out to local non-profits. Many have been continuing to provide food deliveries for older persons and others who are not able to do so for themselves (e.g. Meals on Wheels). If you would like to volunteer or donate, be sure to contact the organization to see how you can help!
Where can I learn more?
Contacts for authorities providing service and assistance, as well as further useful information can be found our frequently asked questions page. If there is a health emergency, or if you would like to make a crime report you should call 911.
For the latest and most up to date advice visit our policies page.