Over the past almost year, measures have been in place to help avoid the spread of COVID-19. The risk of contracting Covid can be an especially scary prospect for seniors, who are in a high-risk category by virtue of their age and may also have comorbidities, which can make them an even higher risk. This increased risk may mean they are leaving their home very little or not at all, putting them at a huge risk for social isolation, especially as we reach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. Do you need some ideas beyond telephone and Zoom calls of how you can assist a senior loved one with avoiding isolation? Here are 7 tips for helping your senior loved ones avoid isolation during Covid and beyond.
1. Projects. Most families have boxes of photographs. Maybe a loved one might want to take the lead in organizing them. If another family member has a milestone birthday coming up, perhaps the senior loved one might want to take on the project of a picture collage.
2. Hobbies. We may have all heard the buzz about picking up a hobby during the pandemic and seniors might just be the ones who have the time. Consider asking your loved ones about a hobby they might be interested in and help them get the needed supplies or even surprising them with some painting or sewing or knitting supplies.
3. Book Club. Most seniors have mastered the technology, so maybe suggest or assist them with setting up a virtual book club with some other friends who may also be facing the challenges of isolation. This may inspire them to read and they will have an enjoyable event to look forward to.
4. Writing. Writing can be an extremely therapeutic exercise. Ask your loved ones if they would like to journal or maybe they have always wanted to record the family history or even write a book. Speak with your loved ones about this and be proactive in helping with gathering any supplies they may need.
5. Reconnecting. With everyone spending so much time at home, this can be an excellent time for reconnection. Encourage your loved ones to reach out to school friends or relatives they may have lost touch with. This may provide them the comfort of talking to someone and the enjoyment of reminiscing.
6. Community Resources. If your plate is already full, and you are doing as much as you can, look into community resources who can provide check-in phone calls, socially distant visits and sometimes even meals.
7. Volunteering. Maybe rather than receiving community services, your loved ones would feel better being on the giving end of community services. They could volunteer to call and check-in with other seniors, offering them a sense of satisfaction.
Speaking of feeling good, using these tips to help senior loved ones avoid social isolation should make you feel good too. Not only can they experience an increase in mood, but decreasing social isolation is scientifically linked to a longer life expectancy. For further assistance in supporting your elder loved ones, please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.