Among Seniors During COVID-19
October 2020 Issue
by Lorraine Aiken
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Americans have adopted social distancing, mask wearing and self-quarantine protocols. This has become commonplace during this time to miti-gate the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and keep vulnerable populations, like seniors, protected from unnecessary exposure. For a quarter of seniors over 65, isolation and loneliness are common. Throughout COVID-19, the effects of loneliness have become increasingly exacerbated for those who live by themselves. Loneliness can lead to physical and mental health issues including anxiety, depression, agitation, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. To curb these effects, we’ve come up with five helpful suggestions to assist seniors during this time.
5 Tips For Assisting Seniors with Loneliness
1. Utilize Digital Connections
Most digital connections are at no cost to the user and are a great way to stay connected. These connections are easy to set up and can ensure seniors are conversing, playing games, enjoying photos or staying up to date through digital means. Some ways that they can do this are through video chat (Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Facetime), games (Word With Friends, Draw Something, Trivia Crack), social media (Facebook, In-stagram, Twitter, Pinterest) and photo sharing (Google Images, TinyBeans, Shutterfly).
2. Rethink Housing:
The isolation of COVID-19 has kept seniors in quarantine to minimize risk from exposure. While being at home may seem like the safest place to be, moving into a retirement community like Marsh’s Edge on St. Simons Island has ensured seniors continue to thrive during this time. People who live in retirement communities can continue to live an active lifestyle with unique social activities, freshly prepared meals, inclusive home maintenance/repairs and care provided in-house.
3. Adopt A Pet
For seniors able to care for a pet, adopting one can provide a great companion and loyal friend. Research suggests that owning a pet provides both physical and mental health benefits for seniors. The benefits include lower blood pressure, stress relief, the ability to combat loneliness, easing depression, encouraging physical activity, offering a sense of worth and providing security. Search local pet adoption organizations to see if there are any pets that may fit you or your loved one’s lifestyle.
4. Pick Up The Phone
Remember that the best way to create connections with others is by talking to them directly. Text messages and digital connections aren’t the same and sometimes we need to hear another person’s voice. Take the time to call senior family members, neighbors and friends to check-in and have an active conversation, even if it’s just to say hi.
5. Connect With Local Organizations
Many seniors are a part of external groups, clubs, and organizations, whether it’s church, volunteer work or fitness class. Check with the organization to see if they’re providing calls to members of their congregation, digital workout classes, pen pal connections or the opportunity to speak on a topic that they enjoy through a video chat. Ensuring these connections stay strong during this time can help seniors to not feel so alone.