Posted on Sep 15, 2020 in Senior Tips
Isolation among seniors is commonplace, and COVID-19 quarantine measures are adding to an already-worrying precedent.
Extended periods of self-isolation are leading to an increased risk of falling, every-cause mortality, and dementia. And since many older adults don’t see any end in sight to current pandemic guidelines – especially those advised for seniors – all of the concerns mentioned above are so much more daunting.
To many people over the age of 65, remaining in self-isolation means staying safe. But the very safeguards intended to protect seniors from harm also means having to steer clear of any physical contact with family and friends. Plus, COVID-19 precautions have curtailed the activities that previously kept seniors stimulated, active, and socially engaged.
Fortunately, certain measures can be taken to alleviate or remove some of the pressures caused by self-isolation. Staying safe but still being social can be done in the following ways:
Even though days spent in self-isolation may feel like one long blur, it’s important to define them. This is achieved by continuing to plan your day as usual.
Keeping up with a typical routine is crucial when wanting to achieve this. Getting out of bed at the same time every day, getting dressed, scheduling calls with friends, and spending time cooking, cleaning, or on hobbies are all important. At the end of every day, make sure you’ve spoken to someone on the phone or sent an email or instant message. Even the smallest interaction will make each day feel less lonely.
These routines can mean the difference between having a meaningful day and spending weeks on end in a blurry, seemingly meaningless, haze.
Getting sufficient exercise can be daunting when in self-isolation. A great workaround is to find an online exercise class that you can take part in. Yoga, Pilates, and dance classes are all easy to find, and there are options tailored to every age group.
If joining a virtual exercise class isn’t your cup of tea, you can go for a socially distanced walk with a low-risk friend or family member. This may mean wearing a mask and staying a meter apart from one another, but you’ll still be getting fresh air, exercise, and much-needed interaction.
Fear only ever becomes a debilitating enemy when we give in to it. While the media may be stirring up this emotion, it’s important to retain your independence while staying safe. To this end, try not to succumb to a fear of leaving the house.
There are several ways to ensure safe out-of-home excursions that will make you feel like you’ve had some social interaction.
When you go out, wear a protective face covering and use hand sanitizer after touching anything. It’s also suggested that you can practice social distancing and stay at least a meter away from anyone else in your vicinity.
When feeling low, don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends. Phone calls, instant messaging, and social media all make it easier to stay in touch and connect with people. Use the resources at your disposal and chat with your loved ones. They will be missing you too.
You can schedule weekly one-on-one video calls, or you can have group calls with your extended family. Distance is no obstacle when chatting online. If you didn’t engage in this way before, now is the perfect time to communicate digitally.
The internet has brought us all closer together and allows us to do everything from answering tough questions like what are final expenses or burial insurance, to finding documents that allow you to trace your ancestry. Thanks to the World Wide Web, our options are endless.
There are numerous ways to interact online with family, friends, and even people you may never have met but share a similar interest with. Your family may be able to set up a board game for you all to enjoy virtually, or you could play online games that feature chat rooms where like-minded seniors can mingle.
If you have grandkids, set up a video call and read them a story, or watch a movie together but apart, then discuss it afterward.
COVID-19 has brought with it numerous challenges, and for seniors, staying safe is a priority. However, as these tips prove, with a little bit of ingenuity, there are ways to stay social while in self-isolation.