The coronavirus health crisis has spurred ongoing social distancing in the country. Social distancing measures are critical to preventing the spread of the virus. As a consequence, many older adults are left lonely and isolated. Here are ways to promote togetherness during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Firstly, it is important to recognize that seniors are more susceptible to severe illness upon being infected by the coronavirus. While seniors in their 60s and 70s are at higher risk than people in their 50s, seniors who are 85 and older have the highest risk for severe health consequences.
A severe reaction to the coronavirus means that the older individual may need to be hospitalized to aid in recovery; the senior may require intensive care; a ventilator may become an essential life-saving measure; or, the older person may succumb to death.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 8 out of 10 deaths due to Covid-19 are in seniors aged 65 and over. Plus, people who have certain underlying conditions, such as a heart condition or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have a higher risk for complications from Covid-19.
The risk for severe illness is not the only problem for seniors during the current pandemic. Loneliness and isolation have increased in the aging population since the start of the health crisis. In recent studies, twice the number of older participants reported feelings of isolation than before the pandemic.
Specifically, during the height of pandemic in mid-year of 2020, 46 percent of study participants reported infrequent (once a week or less) social interactions with family, friends, and neighbors. These statistics are in comparison to 2018, when only 28 percent of seniors reported the same.
Fortunately, even during the social distancing measures enforced during the pandemic, interactions among seniors are made possible by technology. The downside of the connections made via technology, however, is that social media and video chats can make some people feel more isolated.
Call Loved Ones Often
Still, families and friends can stay connected with senior loved ones via strategies that incorporate both recent technology and old-fashioned means. For example, families are encouraged to call their aging loved ones more often, especially as the pandemic rages on.
Facilitate frequent phone calls with seniors by gifting them a senior-friendly device. Flip phones are useful for the senior population. Powerful speakers maintain sound clarity and are compatible even with hearing aids. Newer models feature a virtual assistant, making calls and texts even simpler.
Hold Video Chats
Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, a senior has the ability to engage in video chats with friends and family all over the world. FaceTime, Zoom and Skype are just a handful of tools that make chatting easy, even for seniors who are far from being tech-savvy.
Video calls ease the isolation seniors feel during the pandemic. Not only do video chats help develop new connections, but they maintain existing ones. Depression is also reduced among seniors who connect via video calls. The physical distance is no longer an obstacle to being emotionally present.
Modify Traditional Visits
A recent twist to house calls is the socially distanced visit. Friends and family can personally visit their elderly loved ones yet maintain a six-foot physical distance. Families are known to sit in lawn chairs six feet away from older relatives who stay safe and comfy on the porch.
Conversations in the safety of outdoor environments ease feelings of social isolation. Similarly, older people in nursing homes look forward to window visits. Families remain physically outside of the window, while conversing with their loved ones via phone or bringing handmade messages.
Write Letters and Send Cards
Snail mail has made a comeback in the coronavirus era. In addition to other methods of connecting, families are encouraged to send birthday cards and letters to the seniors in their lives. Receiving regular letters is a welcome surprise for aging family members who are physically apart from loved ones.
While sending notes through the mail is a means of social exchange during this health crisis, it is important that seniors know to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after handling mail. The coronavirus can linger on paper for a few minutes to a few days.
Hire Compassionate Companion Care
Enlisting the support of a professional caregiver is a meaningful way to keep seniors socially engaged during this critical time. Companion caregivers are especially instrumental when it comes to building strong relationships with elder care recipients, thereby warding off social isolation and loneliness.
Professional caregivers also help prevent and ease senior isolation by assisting older care recipients with technology. Seniors who are unable to manage a tablet or computer in order to communicate with family receive ample help from a caregiver so that they may connect via Skype or Zoom.
Staying socially engaged is important during the Covid-19 period, when isolation and loneliness plague many populations, especially older ones who may be limited by physical or cognitive ailments. Prevent unease in your aging loved one by hiring a companion caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care.
Our professional caregivers are not only a faithful source of companionship for your loved one, but we also nurture the physical health of our care recipients. We make sure seniors exercise, eat healthy meals, and spend time outdoors—which are all necessary to maintain optimum health during the crisis.
Assisting Hands Home Care professionals promote an overall healthy lifestyle. Our caregivers provide nonmedical assistance with all the activities of daily living. We prepare balanced meals, give medication reminders, help with personal hygiene tasks, provide transportation, and do light household chores.
The isolation and loneliness that have increased during the pandemic have a negative impact on a senior’s well-being. Assisting Hands Home Care services provide seniors with relief. Families with seniors living in Fort Worth, Texas, are encouraged to call us for high quality, compassionate elder care services.