Despite the limited knowledge of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), medical professionals and scientists have determined that the disease causes the most harm and highest mortality rate among older adults. Those aged 60 and older are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, especially if they have pre-existing conditions.
In our community, it can be seen that various individuals and organizations are working to assist and protect the elderly. From offering to pick up and deliver groceries to picking up prescriptions, community members are stepping up to help our older population. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to receive such help. Some do not have the luxury of self-quarantining and still need to grocery shop and run errands in order to endure day to day living.
Grocery stores, when not in a pandemic, are filled with an abundance of germs and people. With the evolving Coronavirus situation, stores are even more populated, creating an increased risk of germs. The lack of supplies as a direct result of fear-induced hoarding.
A social media campaign encouraged stores to modify their hours in order to accommodate older shoppers and minimize the risk factors. Several local stores have already adopted modified hours to assist older adults in addition to their already-altered hours that allow for restocking and additional cleaning. Dollar General publicized a statement encouraging that first hour operations be dedicated to senior shoppers beginning March 17.
In addition, Walmart announced on March 18 that on Tuesdays there will be shopping opportunities an hour prior to the store opening to specifically cater to those at the greatest risk. Similarly, Jay C recently published a statement detailing that starting March 20, the store will be open to only senior citizens from 7 to 8 a.m.
Local establishments such as Dollar General, Walmart and Jay C are setting a precedent to allow the older adult category to minimize their risks and still shop as needed. All stores need to follow such examples and modify their hours to protect and accommodate our senior citizens.
In addition, the general public needs to respect the modified hours of operation. All need to be considerate of those at the greatest risk in this time period. Please allow senior citizens to shop during these hours without interference. By allowing older adults to shop alone during the modified hours, we will be limiting their face to face interactions, decreasing the spread of germs and making conditions safer and calmer for the elderly.
When possible our community should continue to work to assist the elderly so that they may remain in self-quarantine, but as this is not always possible we should continue to urge local establishments to modify their hours to cater to the elderly. Those under age 60 should also avoid entering facilities during these hours.
As a community we should be encouraging other local facilities, such as banks and pharmacies, to modify their hours as well. Such accommodations will protect our most vulnerable and susceptible population from unnecessary risks and ensure that they have access to necessities.
Please continue to regularly wash your hands, practice good hygiene, remain home if ill and limit visits to public places to further reduce the risks of spreading the COVID-19 to our older adult population.