Everyone is being affected by COVID-19 and
senior citizens are feeling the stress as well. There are things we can all do
to help keep our older friends, relatives, and neighbors safe and socially
connected during the pandemic:
Schedule virtual family visits. Because people over the age of 65 are most at risk for serious illness connected to COVID-19, many senior care institutions have tight restrictions that limit contact to volunteers and healthcare professionals. The same goes for seniors who live on their own. That’s why it’s important to stay in touch through FaceTime, Zoom, or other face-to-face technology that helps them stay connected. If that’s not possible, even a quick phone call a couple of times a week can help them feel less isolated.
Limit in-person visits to adults only. If you do visit, make sure to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on reducing the risk of spreading infection, which include washing your hands and maintaining a distance of at least six feet. If you feel even a little sick, cancel the visit. Younger children may lack the discipline and self-control to maintain social distance from their grandparents, so it’s best to let them visit virtually.
Check-in on older neighbors. By offering to shop for older neighbors or helping by picking up their medications, you’ll help relieve any stress about running out of supplies.
Encourage them to limit their news intake. Instead of watching pandemic coverage all day long, suggest that they watch uplifting movies and shows. There’s so much to enjoy without dialing up stress by obsessing over the news. Make a list of your favorite movies and programs that you think they’ll like and let them know where they can find them.
Set up a book club or discussion group. Helping them to arrange a virtual book club can help them pass their time constructively and stay connected by talking about their experiences with others.
Write a letter or create a project that they’ll enjoy. Everybody likes getting a letter from a loved one. Another great thing you can do is create a project with old photos or have their grandchildren create some art for them to enjoy.
Encourage them to stay at home. With the exception of getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine, if possible, it’s best for seniors to stay home and avoid going to stores. Make sure they understand why this is so important and help them by shopping for them or setting up delivery for groceries and other necessities.