There is more to loneliness than simply being alone. For many seniors, it’s a strong sensation that can be quite potent in the emotions that come with it. The two paths it takes are solitude and isolation, but what is the difference?
We need solitude in order to be creative, reflective, to relax and recharge, and to grow in our spiritual walk. This is very different than solation, which causes emotional pain, hopelessness, sadness, and an overwhelming sense of emptiness.
While both isolation and solitude can hit us in the places we feel most vulnerable, it’s important to understand that solitude is something that is welcomed, and even sought out, while isolation comes by force usually, and is not something we would ever welcome on our own.
So, how do seniors cope when solitude turns dangerously toward isolation? We’ve got some tips for you!
7 Strategies to Help Seniors Cope
As we have now been thrust into a global pandemic for several weeks now, we have had to figure out how to do things solo, not touch other people, barely leave the house unless for essential shopping, and to keep social distance between you and your community. This is not natural, nor easy for most people. Humans are made with the need for community and touch and staying away from everyone isn’t what most of us want to do.
Here are a few tips to help keep normality in your daily life:
1. Keep your normal routine. Go to bed at the same time each night, get up at the same time you are used to, practice personal hygiene in the same manner as if you had somewhere to be, and eat a healthy diet.
2. If your house seems to silent, play music that you find soothing. While the television is a nice distraction, be cautious about using it for white noise, as your brain may find it overwhelming and more like chatter, rather than the comforting sounds of music.
3. Be sure to move around and stretch often. Certainly, all our normal routines feel very interrupted due to COVID-19 but being active is very important to maintaining your own health. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. It will do wonders for your mental health as well as your physical health!
4. Get organized and focused. This is a great time to finish projects you’ve started, rather than bouncing around trying to find something that satisfies you. There is great contentment that comes when you finish what you start.
5. Think about the things you do have control over. Look at the big picture. This won’t last forever, and we need to remember that even though we feel as though we have lost control, we really have more than we realize. Knowing what you have control over helps you not feel so trapped.
6. Limit your news intake. Stay informed a few minutes each day through a news outlet you trust, but then turn it off. Listening to the mainstream media for hours on end is enough to depress anyone!
7. Stay connected to family and friends. Video calls make it easier than ever to still see the faces of those we love and talk in real-time. If you aren’t sure how to use this technology, ask for help! This will go a LONG way in fighting off feelings of isolation.
8. Keep your mental health in check. It’s totally okay to ask for help if you need it. If you are concerned that you’re becoming depressed or overly anxious, please contact your doctor for help! There are many solutions that can help.
Seniors should not have to suffer alone. Trying times like these are hard on all of us, but especially on the more vulnerable population like our senior citizens. Fear of the virus is very real and although it’s not likely you will become sick, it’s important to know how to keep yourself healthy, both physically and mentally.
Please contact us if you need more information on combatting isolation during the pandemic. We’re here to help!
Home Helpers of Redding 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 care and live-in care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care, stroke recovery care, as well as homemaker services in Redding, Shasta Lake, Anderson, Cottonwood, Bella Vista, Shingletown, Shasta, Palo Cedro, Mountain Gate, and Millville, California.
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