COVID-19 has caused isolation everywhere, and there is perhaps no group of people this has affected more than our senior citizens. Seniors can experience loneliness and depression without a global pandemic, so it’s imperative that we take care of them!
Combatting the Social Isolation from COVID-19
Research has shown us that the following conditions can be more likely as a result of isolation:
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Cognitive decline
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Weakened immune system
Being isolated can be difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which are:
• Relationships with other people
• Chronic health issues
• New health concerns
• Family structure changes
The problems stemming from social isolation can affect any age group, but especially the following groups of people:
• Low-income seniors
• Seniors who are also caregivers
• People who have recently moved to the area
• Seniors with health concerns, both physical and mental
So, how do we cope? Read on…
Coping with Social Isolation
Since we now know the ways that isolation can impact our seniors, let’s talk about how we can address these issues.
Creating a plan to combat isolation is imperative and should include:
• Stick to a schedule: Even if your schedule isn’t consistent, making a routine to follow is very helpful. Begin every morning with several things to get done. This could be things like errands, housework, paying bills, or returning important calls.
• Caring for others. Does your senior need something to take care of? Animal shelters have an increased need for people to foster dogs and cats of all ages and breeds. It has been proven that seniors who have pets to care for are far less likely to suffer from depression and loneliness. Having a pet can also add to a sense of security for seniors.
• Utilize assistive devices. Social distancing can make it harder for caregivers to check on seniors. This may mean that they need more assistance with everyday things. Assistive devices can help with everything from grabbing items needed, eating, and even walking.
• Technology has made it much more possible to stay connected! Utilizing video calls allow people to see one another while catching up. Of course, there’s always the joy of a simple phone call as well! All of these things keep seniors from feeling lonely.
• Stay informed. Recent studies have shown that being informed about the virus and how to stay well has helped seniors feel less anxious about COVID-19. While it is good to be informed, avoid over-saturation of news outlets. It can increase anxiety in everyone.
• Stay active. There are many ways to stay active, even from home. Armchair exercises, balance and coordination exercises, and walking can go a long way in managing inflammation and a sense of well-being.
• Be creative. Things like painting or other forms of art, gardening, and working puzzles keep the mind engaged and the anxiety down. Playing an instrument and listening to music can also help to stay positive!
• Utilize delivery services. Social distancing has caused even more problems for seniors who can’t drive. Services such as Instacart, Amazon Pantry, and Postmates will deliver groceries and other supplies right to your doorstep. Many of these services are not even charging delivery fees during the current pandemic. Additionally, friends or family who are able could pick up groceries for you and drop them off at your doorstep.
As you can see, social distancing can also mean social isolation for our vulnerable seniors. If you know someone who is struggling with isolation, contact us today. We’re here to help!
Home Helpers of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, 24-hour home care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Cincinnati, Kenwood, Blue Ash, Indian Hill, Greenhills, Fort Thomas, Hyde Park, Madeira, Sharonville, Mason, West Chester, Mt. Lookout, Anderson, Wyoming, Covington, Burlington, Florence, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, Finneytown, Milford, Newport, Clifton, and Forest Park.
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