Supporting Senior Citizens through the Pandemic

 

The current pandemic can create situations where seniors and their loved ones will need to make extra efforts to avoid loneliness.

Seniors should prepare to be social distancing for the long haul, according to Dr. Leonard Kirschner, a licensed M.D. and the past President of AARP Arizona. “This virus will be with us for a long time, this pandemic will run its course for at least 18 months.”

Knowing this, older people and their loved ones can plan to take actions to safely avoid succumbing to anxiety and depression.

 Family, Friends, and support groups can:

  • Make calls
  • Send cards and letters
  • Encourage and facilitate exercise

Encourage and follow-up with your loved ones on their exercise.

  • Be interested, listen and question how they feel. The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend engaging in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week.
  • Keeping track of the little things like getting up during every commercial on TV and doing an active chore, marching in place, or doing a set of stretches can work wonders for body and mind.
  • When possible, encourage getting outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sunshine, looking at nature or going for a walk – this gives most seniors a tremendous boost.

However, sometimes we have to remind and encourage older adults to exercise with caution and think safety. Remember to consult a physician before starting an exercise program. Here are a few tips to emphasize:

  • Listen to your body. Always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. You should be exercising at a level that allows you to talk, but not sing.
  • Be aware of your environment. Make sure you are in reach of a counter, the back of a couch, or a sturdy chair that is pushed up against a wall in case you lose your balance and need to hold on to something or need to sit.
  • Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercising, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Choose clothing that is made for the type of activity you want to do. Shoes, long sleeved shirts, hats etc. should work with the activity, sun intensity and the temperature of your environment.

Use technology to enhance their day

This could be as simple as sending them a Zoom link to a yoga class, church meetings or art classes that they may find enjoyable. It’s a good idea to talk your senior through the first few log-ins and insuring their comfort level with the technology and process.

Security systems have options that can make checking in at the right time easier. For example, cameras with remote monitoring can be installed in the kitchen or key hallways so you can see when the senior is up. In addition, sensors can be added on key cabinets or the medicine drawer to let a family member know they’ve taken their medicine. These electronic assists can be customized to help seniors — and you — feel safer, secure, and connected.

So during these strange and isolated times, taking a little extra effort to plan a routine of communication, connection and security for your parents and older relatives can really have a positive impact on their mental as well as physical well-being.

For more information on technology for seniors, please contact us at: 919-387-1800 or use the form below.                    

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