To stop the spread of the Coronavirus, many people are practicing social distancing. The elderly in isolation are especially affected by this situation. Without visits from family members, get-togethers with friends, or even access to non-essential doctor appointments, many aging adults feel more alone and helpless than ever.
There are several ways home care professionals and family members can help their clients cope during this stressful time.
Restoring a Sense of Order and Purpose
The elderly in isolation are typically retirees. For many retirees, days and weeks are ordered around regular activities and appointments, like weekly coffee dates, medical check-ups, and visits from family. As the majority of the population practices social distancing and many businesses are closed, seniors may feel distraught and that all sense of time, purpose, and order is lost.
It’s important for home care providers and seniors’ loved ones to restore a sense of stability and involvement. Some helpful methods include:
- Schedule events seniors can count on, like weekly calls with family or a walk at a certain time of day
- Find projects for them to focus on, like organizing old photos, recording their stories, or preparing their garden
- Create shared projects, like challenging a senior to complete the same puzzle or book faster than another socially distant family member
- Ask seniors for their help by having them walk younger family members through a recipe or listen to spelling words over the phone to help overwhelmed parents out
Relieving Social Isolation
Helping seniors stay connected with loved ones is also essential. Home care providers can relieve social isolation by taking the time to listen, having personal conversations, and helping clients learn to use technology for social connection.
- Conversing on the phone or video chatting with friends and family
- Using apps to play games with others virtually
- Playing board games, cooking together, or doing other activities via video chat
- Participating in religious services through live streams or recordings
- Attending virtual concerts or other events
- Texting regularly with friends or family
- Writing letters back and forth with others
Encouraging Healthy Activity
Healthy activities, like eating nutritious foods and exercising, are important for protecting seniors against diseases and for maintaining positive mental and emotional health. For many elderly people, a little encouragement and assistance in these areas go a long way.
- Suggest taking walks in the backyard or in the neighborhood
- Send videos of gentle stretches or complete stretches together with a caregiver
- Offer healthy recipes and meal ideas
- Challenge to complete crosswords and other brain-healthy activities
- Create and send a care package
Senior care packages are a wonderful way of helping seniors feel seen and loved while encouraging healthy activity. Items like audiobooks, subscriptions to services like Netflix or online lecture programs, healthy snacks, hygiene items, activity books, and cute decorations or family photos are all mood-brightening, useful gifts.
Focusing on the Positive
Caregivers are heroes, especially during the Coronavirus. To help seniors stay well, they are taking extra precautions. They know how important their support is to the seniors they serve. Focusing on the positive is important for caregivers, their clients, and their clients’ loved ones.
If you know a caregiver, offer them encouragement! If you are thinking of becoming a caregiver or are in need of caregiving services, please reach out. We’d love to connect with you. Click here to learn more about Cherished Companions.