When listening to COVID-19 concerns from our senior clients, they are across the board. Some express a sense of hopelessness, isolation, and despair. Some fear that if they get sick, they will not be treated or will be put to the back of the line, behind younger patients who are deemed more likely to survive. Others worry about an ongoing lack of resources, long term side effects, and how long will it really take until you get the vaccine? But the most common theme that keeps coming up is how much you miss the physical touch with loved ones –to not feel safe to hug your kids or kiss on those grandbabies. The hurt is real.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost half of Seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis. During the holidays, these numbers will almost certainly increase thanks to social isolation coupled with the “holiday blues,” which “can cause irritability, fatigue and sadness,” according to the American Psychological Association.
These facts and stories are painful to hear, but here are some ways we can change the psychological impact for those we care about. (Source: Certified Senior Advisor Article).
- Set up a Phone chain with family – establish a schedule for who will be calling, mailing or video chatting with grandma or our loved one with special health conditions. Your sister could take Monday while your brother calls on Wednesday. Meanwhile your 3rd grader could practice writing a letter that arrives in the mail on Friday.
- Virtual Meals – Consider purchasing a Meeting Owl and simply set up your phone or computer at the dinner table to let all of the family be together as much as possible. Meeting Owl will turn and focus in on the speaker, making it easier to understand the person talking. This can be especially helpful if your loved one struggles to hear in crowded areas.
- Photo Album – Consider starting a phone album for your loved one(s) with recent pictures of family and friends. You could complete it entirely or send additional printed pictures for them to add to the album on a regular basis. If your more techy, consider the Sky Light frame
- Snail Mail – it’s always nice to receive a personal, hand-written letter or post card of somewhere meaningful to your loved one.
- Recordings – If you or your loved one are tech savy, consider sending a recorded message via text so they can hear your voice.
- Plants and animals – it’s always nice to have a companion. Ensure your loved one is up for owning a pet prior to gifting one. When caring for their new friend they can think of you.
- Send a Caregiver – If your loved one is in an assisted living or long term care facility, call to inquire on their rules for allowing Certified Nursing Assistants or other health care professionals in the facility. Often times, these individuals are allowed and the facility welcomes the additional set of hands. Your loved one will benefit from the one on one attention for the number of hours you secured.
- Listen – sometimes just listening is best. This can be a visit outside a loved one’s window or door or a phone/video call.
These times have been tough for everyone, but it’s always good to remember and stay connected with the ones we love.
Certified Senior Advisor Article: http://blog.csa.us/2020/11/lifestyle.html