Covid-19 diseases are often particularly dangerous for people over 60. Here you will find concrete advice for the older generation.
The risk of an infection becoming more serious is higher for people over the age of 60. Due to a less responsive immune system, the disease can be more severe with people over the age of 60 (immune senescence). In addition, symptoms such as fever, which are our body’s response to an infection, may be exhibited in weaker form or even be absent altogether, which is why this group often only visits the doctor at a later stage.
At the moment, social contact should be reduced to a bare minimum. Senior citizens over 60 should, if and where possible, remain at home. You should currently avoid contact with your grandchildren. Do not enter doctors’ practices or pharmacies, but do call them if needed. Pay particular attention in heeding the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 metres and follow proper hand hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. Feel free to accept offers by friends and family, or other initiatives, to do your shopping or provide other forms of assistance.
Not every infection with the novel coronavirus among people with pre-existing conditions becomes more serious. The statements on pre-existing conditions representing additional risk factors are based primarily on mathematical statements on probabilities. Because it is impossible to tell how an individual case will progress, it is particularly important for people with pre-existing conditions and older people to avoid infection. That means: Keep at least 1.5 metres from others when outside and regularly wash your hands. Furthermore: stay at home wherever possible, have family or neighbours take care of supplies, reduce personal contact to the bare minimum and, if you do have to see people, keep your distance. If you have questions regarding your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
No, an influenza vaccination has no effect on how an infection with the novel coronavirus will proceed. The influenza vaccination can, however, lower the risk of influenza, which can help decrease the strain on the healthcare system.
A vaccination against pneumococcal infection does not help against a Covid-19 infection. However, pneumococcal infections can lead to severe pneumonia and sepsis and may require intensive care, in some cases with ventilation. Vaccination is intended to avoid further strain on the health system. We currently recommend vaccinating seniors from the age of 70 as well as patients with chronic respiratory illness and immune deficiency.
There is a wide range of online fitness programmes for use at home. For older people, the German Sport University Cologne (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), for example, offers a specially-designed home training programme. The ff100.de programme is available here. The “Ageing Healthily” programme by the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) offers online tips for exercising at home. Additional tips on how to keep fit are also available here.
Senior citizens over 60 should, if and where possible, remain at home. If you need medication, first call your doctor’s practice or pharmacy. Often it is possible to order medication by telephone or online. It can also be delivered to your home. If you do have to go to your doctor’s practice or pharmacy in person, please pay attention to the rules on contact in public spaces. Go alone or with at most one other person and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres to anyone else.
Neighbour initiatives have already started up, where you can get the help you need. An overview of initiatives is available here.
Particularly older people and people with pre-existing conditions are being urged to reduce physical encounters with others as far as possible. This makes it even more important to stay in contact with others, especially one’s relatives. Personal contact should, if possible, be avoided, however. Instead, regular phone calls or the internet provide good alternatives to keep in contact. In public spaces, it is important to maintain a safety distance of at least 1.5 metres. The rules differ in some respects from state to state across the country, so please check what rules apply where you live.
Particularly older people and people with pre-existing conditions are being urged to avoid direct contact with others as far as possible. Most old-age and nursing homes have been following very strict visitor rules to protect their residents. However, these are now gradually being eased. Regular visits to old-age and nursing homes by a specified person will be permitted in future, so long as there are no active Covid-19 cases within the facility. Please check the regulations in place. Family members can generally stay in contact via regular (video) telephone calls or via the internet.
We still discourage visits to older people and people with pre-existing conditions as they are at a higher risk of an infection with the novel coronavirus taking a serious course. Out of consideration on your part, contact with the older generation should remain limited to phone calls. Looking after school and kindergarten children is a task that should still not be left to grandparents. Until now, old-age and nursing homes have often followed very strict visiting rules to protect their residents. These rules are now being eased. Please approach the specific home to find out under which conditions visits are possible.
Do not open your door to people you do not know, who claim to work for the public health office and offer to test you without having announced their visit in advance. Such people may be scammers. Testing only takes place after you have contacted a public health office. Do not order sanitary products or protective masks at online shops you do not already know. Do not open attachments to emails whose sender you do not know.
Always be vigilant and do not let anyone you do not know enter your flat, as there are ‘fake volunteers’ around, too. Confidence tricksters are particularly targeting older people. They will, for instance, ask for money to pay for medicines or expensive treatments. In many cases, confidence tricksters also claim to be workmen and offer to check or disinfect an apartment.
Currently, criminals are taking advantage of the uncertainty and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. They tend to call elderly people at home, pretend to be relatives who have become infected with the virus and ask for financial support to pay for treatment or to buy medication. For anyone receiving such calls, the police urgently warn against handing over money or valuables to unknown persons. Always ask callers to state the name of the grandchild (niece, etc.) themselves. Do not be tempted to guess names. If you do not recognize a caller immediately, ask them about things that only your real relative can know. Do not disclose details of your family or financial circumstances. Contact the police on 110 immediately if you suspect fraud. Here you can find further information.
Unfortunately, even in times like these, misinformation or fake news are increasingly being circulated. If you come across seemingly sensational news, please take very good notice of the source of this information and double check it. You can get reliable information e.g. from this website, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute or the competent Laender authorities. Do not share social media content until you have read or reviewed it yourself.