According to the CDC, cloth face masks can slow down the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. That makes face masks a valuable tool for your senior and for you if either of you has to be around other people.
Cloth Face Masks Are the Recommended Mask Right Now
The easiest masks for a layperson to obtain and use right now are cloth face masks. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are not recommended because those are masks that healthcare providers need. Dust masks, handmade cloth face masks, and even masks made from bandanas or T-shirts are all acceptable right now. These types of masks help a little bit to keep other people’s respiratory particles away from your senior, but they also help to contain her own respiratory particles.
When to Wear Masks
When your senior expects that she’ll be around other people, especially in situations in which it will be difficult or impossible to maintain social distancing, she should be wearing a mask. If your elderly family member is sick herself, she should definitely wear a mas around other people. In general, being out in public is a good time to wear a mask. If your elderly family member lives in a state in which masks are required, she should have masks.
People Who Shouldn’t Wear Masks
As much as masks are definitely recommended right now, there are situations in which your elderly family member may not be able to wear a mask or she shouldn’t wear a mask. If she’s unconscious, she should not have a mask on her face. Likewise, if she has difficulty breathing due to asthma, COPD, or another lung disease, your senior should not wear a mask. If your elderly family member can’t adjust or take off her mask herself, she should also not wear one.
How to Wear a Mask
Your senior should wash her hands thoroughly before putting on her mask. The mask should fit tightly around her face, but comfortably. The point is to reduce the likelihood that particles could enter your senior’s mouth or nose from the side of the mask. When your senior is ready to remove her mask, she should always take it off by only touching the ties or the loops that go over her ears. Masks should be washed immediately and then dried in the dryer.
As your elderly family member’s caregiver, it’s a good idea to help her to practice using her face mask properly. You can practice not touching the mask while it’s on, adjusting it before leaving the house, and removing it properly after use.