A doctor explains why this is and how we can all support them to do so.

Older people don’t have a strong immune system so they are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. They’re also more likely to have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease, which weaken their body’s ability to fight infectious diseases, says Dr Shyamala Aiyengar, Senior Consultant Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.

Why are older adults more susceptible to Covid?

Elderly are more susceptible to COVID as immunity levels decrease with increasing age. Also, they usually have multiple other conditions which compromise their overall health. Lung function also tends to decrease with age. Moreover, their overall adjustment and compensatory mechanisms of the body are very fragile, hence cannot tolerate any added stress.

What general precautions older adults need to take to be safe?

General precautions are to practice regular hygiene, staying indoors, keeping minimum contact with outsiders, & ensuring that their general health and parameters like hemoglobin, blood glucose levels, creatinine etc are all well controlled. Regular follow up with family physicians should not be ignored.

 Can comorbid conditions increase the chances of Covid?

Comorbid conditions increase the risk of contracting any illness not only COVID, also, increased age is correlated with increased morbidity and mortality.

 If they are on some medication do they need to seek Doctor’s advice on modification to prevent falling ill due to Covid?

If any elderly contracts COVID-19 their regular medication should be cross checked with lab parameters and changed accordingly. The physician responsible for treatment should be fully aware of medication being taken for comorbid conditions… so they can be adjusted if required.

 What diet is suggested to stay healthy?

Regular balanced diet with plenty of sources of vitamins/ antioxidants/ minerals, like seasonal fruits and vegetables.

What physical activity/ exercise is recommended for older adults?

Yoga and pranayama are recommended along with cardio activities like a brisk walk.


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