How to support the senior adults in your life
The pandemic has slowed life for many, including the seniors you care for. And, although information about the risks to different age groups may change, it’s been clear from the early days of COVID-19 that older adults are particularly vulnerable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, how do you protect the seniors you love while helping them enjoy a fulfilling daily life? Below are some tips to support their health and happiness.
Bolster mental health
Aging parents or relatives who spend most of their time at home can experience boredom or depression. Here is how you can help:
- Encourage and set up social interaction, particularly if it’s available virtually. For example, you can arrange or find a virtual book club, game night, or other activity with family members or local groups.
- Schedule video chats, daily or weekly, depending on much contact your loved one has with other people. You can keep visits short, specifying beginning and end times beforehand, so everyone knows what to expect, but make sure they are frequent. Get other family members involved.
- Write a letter or help your child create an art project to send. Mail is a simple way to brighten someone’s day.
- Although you should limit in-person interaction, if you do visit, wear a mask and, when possible, sit outside. It may be necessary to leave young children at home, unless they are able to avoid touching people and objects in the senior’s living space.
- Exchange movies, reading, or television show recommendations for entertainment, instead of news. Offer to pass on important information, so your loved one can avoid an onslaught of negative information.
Encourage physical health
If your senior loved ones need assistance with daily tasks, find a way to help, so they can avoid accidents and unnecessary medical costs. If you’re unable to assist, consider hiring in-home help for personal hygiene, medications, shopping, cleaning, or cooking. Ask what maintenance tasks they can’t or don’t want to do themselves, so what you offer will be appreciated instead of resented.
If you choose to visit, and they are able, walk together around the neighborhood, a local park, or other areas that don’t have crowds. Visiting places during unbusy times can make outings a success.
Finally, help loved ones to schedule regular checkups and to call a doctor about any concerning symptoms. You can even offer to make appointments. Medical offices have extra safety and sanitizing measures in place, and you can find a doctor that specializes on adults on Medicare through Hatfield Medical Group.
Volunteering is an important part of many senior programs, and you can help by, for example, delivering meals, or pitching in with virtual programs.
Specific organizations may list volunteer opportunities online, or you can search a volunteer website, such as VolunteerMatch, for local opportunities geared to helping seniors.
You can also arrange your own volunteer work by, for example, offering to deliver groceries, pick up prescriptions, or run other errands for elderly neighbors. If they live alone, ask if it’s OK to call regularly for a check-in, and find out who their emergency contacts are.
For more information on how you can help the senior adults in your life get quality, compassionate medical care, visit HatfieldMedicalGroup.com.