Why people over 65 are more vulnerable to COVID-19

Dr Seranne Motilal from the Vitality Clinical Wellness team says although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved to affect people of all ages, there are people who are more vulnerable to the pandemic than others.

“Adults age 65 and older and people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes remain particularly at risk for COVID-19 infection and complications,” Dr Motilal says.

“Older people may be more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness because their immune systems decline with age, making it more difficult to fight infections. In addition, older adults often have underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious COVID-19 disease.”

How contracting COVID-19 impacts you and your loved ones

Dr Motilal encourages people over 65 to engage in preventive measures to help contain the spread of the virus. These include washing your hands for 20 seconds with water, coughing and sneezing into a flexed elbow or tissue, and maintaining social distancing in accordance with health authority guidelines.

“This is an opportune time to contribute to society by staying healthy and ‘flattening the curve’ by reducing contact to avoid the spread of COVID-19,” she says.

It may be a difficult time to stay happy and mindful, but try to see these measures as self-care in this time, she says. “Monitor your mood and stay connected to those who can bring joy to your day, by picking up the telephone to chat to those in your social circle,” Motilal adds.

Stay safe, be responsible and protect yourself and your community

For the world to manage the COVID-19 crisis effectively, each individual needs to take responsibility for their own health and that of the people around them. This means doing everything you can to stay healthy, keeping up to date with coronavirus guidelines and following the regulations that have been designed to protect all of us.

Dr Motilal shares the following advice on how you can protect yourself, your loved ones, your community and the healthcare system.

  • Stay home and follow social distancing and isolation measures advised by the World Health Organization and the South African
  • Avoid close contact, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch
  • Maintain good overall health by eating healthily, staying active at home and getting enough
  • Manage chronic medical conditions by taking your medicine as prescribed and phoning your doctor if you have any
  • Keep up to date with vaccines, especially the annual flu
  • Report your symptoms to your doctor if you become
  • Reach out for help with groceries, medicine or anything else you need help with from family, friends or


Visit the Vitality at Home page (https://www.discovery.co.za/vitality/vitality-at-home-exercise-nutrition-health) for more ideas on how to stay healthy and rewarded at home.
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Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay rewarded.