The pandemic that started a nationwide quarantine has been difficult for everyone. None more so than our elder population. Due to their age and usually underlying conditions, our elderly population has been even more isolated than most. Most of us have been able to socialize at some level, be it a simple trip to the grocery store, work, or allowed social functions. But for people over 60, these simple acts have been discouraged so as to minimize potential risks of COVID infection. A weekend trip to grandma’s is put on hold. Nursing homes basically shutdown to visitors. We’ve all seen pictures of the family waving at their elderly member through a window. This is the best way to keep them safe, but with a cost. This isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and mental decline in our loved ones.
There are some ways to help ease the disconnect that our aged family members and friends are feeling. Here are a few ideas that you may want to implement and encourage your family to partake in.
Send a care package. If they can’t get to the store, send some essential items to them. Who doesn’t like getting a package in the mail! Ideas: hygiene products, paper products, snacks, books, OTC medicines. Get creative!
Communicate. Pick up the phone, video call, text often. Communication is essential. Just reaching out to let them know you are thinking of them, will help them cope. Even old-fashioned letter writing can be brought back. Again, who doesn’t like getting something in the mail besides bills!
Entertainment. Put today’s technology to work for you! Netflix and chill together! Video call, or call, decide on a movie and watch it together! The same can be done with books. Decide on a book to read, then discuss it together. Of course, if your loved one is tech-savvy, a whole new world awaits. Play words with friends, Yahtzee, or a host of other game apps that are available.
We are entering our 9th month of this new way of life. We need to keep all of our loved ones as close as we can, while we keep our distance. It requires some thought, but mostly just requires love.