Social distancing is important to keep older loved ones safe and healthy during COVID-19 but practicing physical distancing does not mean they should be socially isolated. It’s possible that due to current ‘stay home’ orders, your loved one’s daily routine will look very different from what it was before COVID-19. What’s important to relay to them and yourself is that socially distancing should not get in the way of enjoying your purpose and passion.
“Even during a pandemic, there are still opportunities to age magnificently,” said Kari Schwartz, RN, Lifesprk Life Manager. “In fact, empowering people to find what sparks them is good for their health. Finding ways to enjoy quarantining will help keep your ‘spark’ going and can improve your mental health and wellbeing. There’s a lot you can do safely from the comfort of your own home.”
Here we’re sharing some useful tips for your senior loved ones to use to help reduce the feelings of social isolation and increase their levels of happiness.
Remaining Part of the Community
A big challenge for seniors is the sudden change to community activity. Did they use to go to church, meet friends for coffee mornings, or perhaps join in on sports activities? Are they now faced with canceling the things that brought them joy? The change in regular activities and interactions with neighbors, friends, and acquaintances can contribute to loneliness. While the current advice is to avoid face-to-face contact, you and your loved ones might be asking what can be done to prevent this loneliness.
During these days of social distancing, many organizations are moving their groups online allowing your loved one to still participate. Help them seek those alternatives, even if temporarily to continue their routine and social connections. A simple video call at the same time of day as the activity will undoubtedly help boost your loved one’s mood.
Although it can be a challenge for some seniors to embrace technology, remote communication is a great way of preventing loneliness as well as filling your loved one’s day with fun activities to keep them engaged.
Visiting Family Members
While we all know it’s best to keep loved ones protected and avoid any kind of in-person interaction, it can be really difficult for those seniors who live alone and rely on the regular visits of friends and close relatives for company and interaction.
Carve out time for daily or weekly phone calls or video calls. You can also stop by and see/talk to them through their windows and drop off their favorite treats or activities.
Your senior loved ones might be concerned about how they’re going to do their grocery shopping or attend their doctor’s appointments. Without their usual network of friends, family members, and neighbors available to help them, your loved ones might feel that they’ll be isolated without anyone to assist them with daily errands.
The thought of not being able to move around is an understandable concern for many seniors. While you and other family members might not be able to assist loved ones with errands, Lifesprk can connect you to community resources that can help.
For immediate support, telehealth opportunities, or if you have questions or concerns, reach out to Lifesprk Navigators who are available 24/7 to guide you and keep you and your loved ones ‘sparked’ during this pandemic and beyond. And download our resource guide to help you determine if your loved one may need a little support to keep their health in check.