Since its discovery in late 2019, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread throughout the world and it is having a drastic effect on everyone’s daily lives. The United States has become the epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic as we have more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country in the world. The city of Chicago and its suburbs are among the hardest areas hit in the state of Illinois, making it very important for area residents to take the proper precautions to protect themselves.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we are following the situation closely and staying up to date on the latest information so we can protect the health of our clients and caregivers the best we can. We are aware that senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions are the most likely to experience severe symptoms from COVID-19 and it is very important to us to protect their health. There are certain actions we can take to protect our clients and staff and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but it is important for everyone to do their part by taking the necessary precautions.
In this guide, we will cover the COVID-19 measures issued by the Illinois governor, local support available for seniors, grocery stores and pharmacies with special hours for seniors, how seniors can protect themselves from the virus, and what to do if a senior experiences symptoms. We hope that this guide will keep seniors informed about the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help them protect themselves from the disease.
What COVID-19 Measures Were Announced by the Illinois Governor?
The entire state of Illinois is currently under a stay at home order that took effect at 5 pm on March 21, 2020. Under this order, all Illinois residents are urged to stay in their homes as mush as possible but are still allowed to leave for what are defined as Essential Activities, Essential Government Functions, and to work or operate Essential Businesses. Businesses that are not Essential Businesses as defined by the Executive Order have been ordered to close, but non-essential businesses can continue to operate if their employees work from home.
Places of public amusement including parks, museums, libraries, movie theaters, concert venues, country clubs, and others are ordered to remain closed to the public. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited and travel by automobile and public transportation are only permitted for Essential Travel and Essential Activities.
The following are defined as Essential Activities according to Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order:
- For health and safety: You are permitted to leave your home to get medications and medical supplies, seek emergency care, and visit a healthcare professional.
- For necessary supplies and services: You can leave your home to get groceries and food, necessary household products, supplies to work from home, and anything needed to maintain the safety and sanitation of your residence.
- For outdoor activity: You can leave for certain outdoor activities including walking, running, hiking, and biking.
- For certain types of work: If you work for an Essential Business, you can leave your home to go to work and carry out work activities.
- To take care of others: You can leave your home to care for or transport a family member, friend, or pet in another household.
The following are defined as Essential Businesses under the Executive Order:
- Healthcare and Public Health Operations: This includes hospitals, pharmacies, healthcare clinics of various types, veterinary care, eye care, and others.
- Human Services Operations: This includes providers funded by DHS, DCFS, and Medicaid; long term care facilities; home-based care for seniors and adults with disabilities; childcare; businesses that provide food, shelter and social services for the needy; and others.
- Essential Infrastructure: This includes food production and distribution, building management, utilities, public transportation, waste collection, telecommunications, and others.
- Critical trades: This includes plumbers, electricians, janitorial staff, HVAC, and more.
- Grocery Stores
- Gas Stations
- Financial Institutions
- Mail, Delivery, Shipping, Logistics etc.
- Restaurants for Carryout and Delivery
- Hotels and Motels
The following Social Distancing Requirements are included in the Executive Order:
- Keeping 6 feet of distance from others
- Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible
- Using hands sanitizer often
- Avoiding physical contact
- Sneezing and coughing into your elbow or a tissue
- Regularly cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces and objects
For more information on the Executive Order for Illinois, you can view the order here: Executive Order for Illinois
What Local Support is Offered for Seniors?
Sheltering in place can be especially difficult for senior citizens who rely on family members and caregivers to help them with daily self-care and important errands and activities. Fortunately, there are many local sources of support to help seniors in the Naperville, IL area. The following is some of the support available to seniors:
- Home Care: Home care providers like Assisting Hands Home Care are still providing in-home care and assistance for seniors in the Naperville, IL area. Our caregivers have been trained to use special protocols throughout this crisis to protect our clients.
- Loaves & Fishes Community Services: Loaves & Fishes is located in Naperville, IL and they help seniors who are in need of food assistance and eligible to receive food distributions with food services such as grocery assistance and home delivery. Check out Loaves & Fishes for more about their programs for seniors.
- Healthcare: Seniors who need regular healthcare treatment will still be able to see their doctors. However, you may have to call ahead to make an appointment because many healthcare centers are closing their doors to walk-ins.
- Special Grocery Hours: Grocery stores and pharmacies in the Naperville, IL area are reserving certain hours of the day for senior shoppers only.
Which Grocery Stores and Pharmacies have Special Hours for Seniors?
The following stores have special senior shopping hours on certain days of the week in the Naperville, IL area:
- Jewel-Osco: 7 to 9 am Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Target: 7 to 8 am Wednesdays
- Whole Foods: 9 to 10 am daily
- Walmart: 7:30 to 8:30 am Tuesdays
- Walgreens: 8 to 9 am on Tuesdays
See the complete list of stores and pharmacies with senior shopping hours here: Shopping Hours for Seniors
How Should I Protect Myself If I Need to Go Out?
Seniors are vulnerable to severe symptoms from COVID-19. It is highly advised for seniors to stay home as much as possible, but there may be times when leaving the home is unavoidable, such as for doctor visits. If you must leave your home, make sure you take the following precautions:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth or mask. This is to protect others incase you have the virus.
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow. Tissues should be thrown immediately in the trash. If possible, wash your hands immediately after covering a sneeze or cough.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth until you return home and can wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
- Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Try to limit visits with friends and family and stay home as much as possible. You never know who could be carrying the virus.
Consult this guide from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more about how seniors can protect themselves from COVID-19:
What Should I Do If I Experience Symptoms?
It is very important for senior citizens to follow these steps to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and take the right actions if they experience symptoms:
- Monitor yourself for the most common symptoms including fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
- If you believe you have symptoms, do not leave your home and call your doctor. Explain your symptoms to them and they will advise you on what to do next. Calling your doctor from home will prevent you from exposing others to the disease.
- If your symptoms do not require you to be hospitalized, your doctor can give you advice to help you recover at home.
- Stay home while you are experiencing symptoms and do your best to avoid contact with others, including those within your own home.
- If there are others in your home, wear a cloth over your nose and mouth when interacting with them and do not share any household items.
- If you must visit your doctor for your symptoms, call your doctor first and make them aware of your symptoms so they can take the proper precautions for your visit.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following severe symptoms of COVID-19:
- Trouble breathing or extreme shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in your chest
- Sudden confusion
- Bluish lips or face
For more steps on what seniors should do if they have COVID-19 symptoms, consult this guide from the CDC.
Home Care Services from Assisting Hands
Sheltering in place is extremely important for seniors because of their risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms. However, some seniors will still need someone in their home to assist them with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and other household tasks. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we are still providing complete elderly home care services for seniors in the Naperville, IL area. Our caregivers are using specific protocols and taking every precaution necessary to help protect our clients from the coronavirus as we provide them with much needed home care.
Give Assisting Hands Home Care a call at (630) 352-3656 for more about our home care services.