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Corona Virus COVID-19 Information for Seniors

Seniors with chronic diseases are at greatest risk for severe disease.

  • Persons over 55 and and people with chronic diseases are at risk to become seriously ill with COVID-19.
  • 15% of 80 year-olds who contract the disease die.
  • By contrast, young, healthy people will have mild symptoms, and may not even know they are sick.

Social Distancing is new language for staying away from other people who can give you COVID-19.

  • Stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing.
  • Stay away from young people who may be spreading the disease without knowing it.
  • Stay away from people who don't understand good hygiene--like children.

There is no treatment or vaccine for this new disease. Prevention is our defense.

  • Good hygiene can protect you from this virus.
  • Wash hands before touching your face--Always. This is a lung disease that has to get in through your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Train yourself and your loved ones not to touch their faces! Only touch your face with sanitized hands!
  • Wear gloves if you must touch surfaces that other people touch--door handles, faucet handles, countertops, chairs, light switches, money, credit cards, car keys, etc.

If you are coughing or sneezing, wear a mask to protect others from droplets that coughs and sneezes shoot into the air.

COVID-19 Facts for Seniors

Viral Transfer

Very few people catch Corona virus from sick people coughing in their faces. Most patients have silently picked up the virus disease by touching something an infected person left behind --like a surface that's covered with viruses. Flu bugs can viruses stay alive on surfaces for up to a week. Corona virus sticks to patients hands and everything they touch, the clothes they wear, the utensils they use, the cups from which they drink.

When you touch surfaces that other people have touched before you, clothing other people have worn, or other people's rubbish, viruses stick to your hands. When you put on your glasses, scratch your nose, push back your hair, wipe the corner of your mouth, viruses transfer to your face. Licking fingers is a sure way to pick up a viral disease.

Hand Washing

Visit "When and How to Wash Your Hands" for the correct way to wash hands. Friction is what cleans your hands, not just soap and water. The friction of rubbing hands together lifts off the oils that viruses stick to. For 20 seconds, rub your soapy hands together front and back -- and under the nails. (That's how long it takes to sing a full version of "Happy Birthday." ) Rinse well and dry hands with a paper towel before turning off the faucet. Then use the same towel to grip the door handle on your way out. Consider all public restroom faucets, door and flush handles contaminated.


Wearing gloves can protect you from picking up viruses on your hands while at the doctors office, shopping or running errands, but the greatest advantage is that gloves remind you not to touch your face.

Paper Masks

Paper masks will not filter out airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes. But, of you already have the flu, a mask will contain saliva from spraying others when you sneeze and cough. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to 30 feet. So cover a sneeze or cough  when you are sick, and if you have to be near other people, wear a mask for their protection.

No Sharing

Flu season is not the time for sharing food, food utensils, tastes, kisses, or sweaters. If you sneeze into your shoulder, as some recommend, flu virus can live in that sweater for two weeks. Bed sheets too. But laundering washes the viruses away.

Coughing and Sneezing

If you cough or sneeze, trap the spray of droplets in the tight crook of your elbow. Or pull up the neck of your T-shirt over your face to trap the spray. but remember that virus can live in fabric for days, but will launder out in warm water and detergent.

Flu Symptoms

Flu comes with fatigue, temperature above 100.4, body aches, sore throat, runny nose and cough. Fluids and rest and anti-viral medicines support you until the virus wears itself out. Self isolation will protect you from giving the flu to your family. And good hygiene will keep you family from picking up your viruses and putting them on their faces.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Corona virus usually starts with a fever. Instead of a runny nose, this disease turns into a cough and tightness in the chest. It causes a fever 100.4 or higher. If you get sick, call your healthcare provider and follow their instructions. They may ask you to be tested. Stay at home, isolate from others and wear a mask. Wash your hands before touching surfaces others have to use.

If you have been in contact with someone who came down with COVID-19, monitor your temperature twice a day. If it is 100.4 or higher, call your health care provider. Follow their instructions, stay at home and isolate from others. Wear a mask and wash your hands before touching surfaces others have to use.

Seniors over 50 are at greater risk of serious COVID-19 pneumonia, but so are persons of any age with underlying diseases:

  • persons with heart disease and those with hypertension, even if they are 'under control'
  • persons with diabetes
  • those with asthma, chronic bronchitis and COPD
  • patients with lung disease and lung cancer
  • persons receiving chemotherapy
  • patients taking immunosuppressive drugs for transplants, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, colitis, and viral infections like AIDS that cause immunosuppression.

This virus is three times more contagious than the Flu. It is passed on silently --by persons who "feel fine!" People infected with COVID-19 can pass on virus in their saliva 5-10 days before they feel sick with fever, headache, cough or body aches. Silent transfer is why seniors must give up cultural hugging and kissing, distance themselves from family members, children, and caregivers, and practice good hygiene whenever they touch things that other people touch:

  • door handles
  • telephones
  • rubbish
  • trash cans
  • dirty dishes, community cups or glasses
  • bibs and diapers
  • toys
  • television clickers
  • keys
  • money
  • credit and discount cards
  • surfaces like door jams, chair and car handles, handrails, sunglasses
  • check-out machines
  • grocery carts and baskets

The trick is to be alert. if you touch something that other people use, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE UNTIL YOU WASH YOUR HANDS.

Stores are offering shopping hours for seniors -- this is great. Try to buy all your items at one store to reduce your exposure. Use paper or plastic bags the store provides. If you must use cloth bags, put them in the laundry when you get home.

Please wear vinyl gloves when you go shopping; throw them away when you come out of the store. Sanitize your hands when you get in the car, or get on the bus. wash your hands when you get home, before you unpack your purchases.

Corona virus usually starts with a fever 100.4 or higher, and perhaps a sore throat and body aches. Within hours, this disease turns into a cough, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. If you get sick, call your healthcare provider and follow their instructions. In Hawai'i, healthcare providers decide who needs to be tested. Stay at home, isolate from others and wear a mask. Wash your hands before touching surfaces others have to use.

If you have been in close contact with someone who came down with COVID-19, isolate yourself, stay at home and monitor your temperature twice a day. If it is 100.4 or higher, call your health care provider. Follow their instructions, stay at home and isolate from others. Wear a mask and wash your hands before touching surfaces others have to use.

COVID-19 has been coming to Hawai'i with visitors, so the state has put restrictions on travelers to Hawai'i.

CLICK HERE for official Department of Health press releases

This information is public awareness information extracted from published reports and advisories from and  Please visit these websites directly for updated information, public directives and advisories regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.


In the current issue…

Choosing Peace: Our Care, Our Choice

OUR COVER STORY -​ Dying at home can be traumatic for loved ones. We long for a peaceful walk into a beautiful sunset. But most have never seen anyone die and that first indelible experience will stick with us. We may wish to die in our sleep, suffer an accident where we “never knew what happened” or drop dead while enjoying a favorite activity. But the odds are even — just as many people suffer and fight death to the last breath. Loved ones who witness such death throes simply don’t talk about it. We are compassionate people who avoid pain and go to great lengths to protect our loved ones from suffering. So why is there controversy about Hawai‘i’s Our Care, Our Choice Act, the aid-in-dying law that allows terminal patients to have  medications that will ensure a peaceful passing?

Aging in Hawaii: The Wise-Soul Perspective

An interview with author Michael W. K. Yee, Financial Advisor and Ameriprise Certified Financial Planner. Michael is asked, “Are Hawai‘i seniors living well and thriving?” Michael answers: “Hawai‘i is the best place to retire and thrive. The climate and culture of ‘ohana is second to none for living a good life with family and friends. Also on the plus side, seniors get to enjoy more quality of life here. It’s no surprise Hawai‘i has the highest longevity in the country…

Pneumonia: No. 1 Cause of Death

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is one of the most common types of conditions primary care providers encounter in the United States. It is also the most common infectious cause of death. CAP accounts for nearly 4.5 million doctor visits annually and is the second most common cause of hospitalizations. Risk factors for contracting CAP include: Older age; Chronic respiratory disease; Chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure or stroke; and other immunocompromising conditions, such as asplenia and HIV…

Gift of Sound – Free Hearing Aid Program

​The Rotary Club of Honolulu is teaming with Miracle Ear Foundation’s Gift of Sound™ program, which provides free hearing aids to those that qualify. The application fee is $150, which includes a hearing assessment, hearing aid fittings and follow-up adjustments. While supplies last, the Rotary Club of Honolulu will assist those who can not afford the $150 application fee through its Can You Hear Us Now? program.

Financial Planning for Non-Parents

Those who do not have children tend to have more financial flexibility to pursue their goals throughout life and retirement. This makes sense when you consider that the cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is currently estimated at $233,610 (before you factor in college). However, childless singles and couples still need to manage their future financial needs. Many mistakenly assume the absence of heirs removes the weight of retirement and legacy planning from their shoulders. Don’t fall victim to this myth. Financial planning is just as important for childless adults as it is for anyone else.

Events Calendar

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Be sure to check out our MULTIMEDIA page for additional videos and podcasts related to topics on aging well and Hawai‘i’s kūpuna.

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