Tips to Help Seniors Overcome the Challenges of Social Isolation
Whether it’s stay-at-home orders or isolating from the general population to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation has caused challenges for everyone. However, it has been especially impactful on our senior populations.
A study by the National Institutes of Health suggests that “the mental and physical health in older people have been severely and negatively affected due to the social distancing requirements related to COVID-19. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality and a general lack of physical activity during the isolation period.”
Still, there are some tools to help combat the negative effects of isolation. Here are a few ideas.
Technology Keeps Us Connected
Since March 2020, many of us have adopted new uses for technology. We have embraced online ordering - everything from groceries to clothing to gifts for friends and family. We have socialized with friends and family on tools like Zoom or Facetime. Many older adults have embraced telehealth technology like never before - staying healthy and safe at home. Online games and virtual tours of museums, zoos, and national parks have also helped reduce the tedium of isolation. It is important to assist seniors and get their technology game rolling so be ready to help. Here’s a helpful link from AgingInPlace.org.
Mother Nature to the Rescue
Many seniors have reported getting outside more as a healthy way to manage isolation. Weather permitting, going for a walk or simply sitting outside on a sunny day to read a book can do wonders for your mental health. Some have found new hobbies in planting, gardening, and other outdoor activities. During the winter, inside gardening and botany are also good options. Many kinds of flora and fauna can be ordered and delivered right to your door. Plants.com is a good resource for your green thumb.
Companion Animals for Seniors
According to AgingCare.com, pets can help reduce stress and help keep you healthy - both mentally and physically. The companionship of a pet can help their owners deal with loneliness. They also give a great sense of purpose. A caring, furry companion can be great to wake up to each day. There are some important considerations before getting a pet for your senior relative. Things like familiarity with taking care of pets, noting any physical limitations or concerns, ensuring the right size and breed of a pet, as well as taking into account the financial obligations that come with pet ownership. Pet shelters are a great place to start.
Additional Resources for Seniors in Isolation
What Is Companion Care?
Time for social connection should be prioritized, just like we do our physical health and nutrition. At Comfort Keepers, we offer a range of in-home care services. Companion care, or companionship, provides emotional support, friendship, and socialization for seniors. Common home companion care activities include:
Conversation and mental stimulation, such as playing games or listening to music
Meal prep and time spent together over breakfast, lunch or dinner
Light activity, such as a walk or time spent outside
Laundry and light housekeeping
Grocery shopping and errands
Transportation to and from appointments or social events
Reminders for personal care and grooming
At Comfort Keepers, we focus on activities that bring joy, provide mental stimulation, and encourage physical and emotional wellbeing. Our caregivers are in regular communication with a client’s loved ones to share progress, answer questions, or simply check-in.
If you’re interested in learning more, we would love to hear from you! Call us today at (419) 535-7777 or visit our website.