Countries all over the world are hit by the unprecedented crisis COVID-19. To slow down the spread of the infection is just as important as stopping the spread of the infection, in order to prevent overwhelming, the healthcare system. Hence, countries have taken careful measures to flatten the curve. Some of the measures include implementing safe distancing measures, practicing good washing hygiene and most importantly staying or self-isolating at home.
Elderly must adhere to these measures strictly because they are more susceptible to this virus due to their aging immunity system. Their aging immunity system also means that their recovery period is slower, when they contracted this virus. In addition, for elderly who have other chronic diseases, contracting this virus will be more complicated.
Though these self-isolation and social distancing measures protects the elderly’s physical well-being and lower their risk of contracting this virus, their emotional and mental well-being could be affected. They will feel lonelier, especially for those elderly who are in self-isolation. These measures also disrupt some of their routine activities, such as catching up with friends, going for routine check-ups, shopping for groceries, making them feel more helpless and frustrated.
As their family members, we must perform the following to care for the elderly and make them feel connected and less alone.
Spend time teaching the elderly how to make use of technology
Prohibited house visits and catchup with friends reduce their physical connection time with others. It is vital to spend time to teach the elderly on using the smartphone to keep in touch with their friends and family members. They can make use of the FaceTime function in the smartphone or the Zoom app to stay digitally connected.
Check in on them Regularly
Make the elderly feel your love and concern through your actions. Check in on them regularly via different modes of action. Give them a call, FaceTime them, Skype them. Occasionally, do send them snail mail, to lift their spirits up with a card specially written for them. Buy them subscription boxes to remind them that they are remembered by their family members with treats delivered to their doorstep.
Continue to Hold Celebrations
Though the elderly are in self-isolation at home, family members should continue to organise celebrations such as birthday parties, to keep the family bonded. Virtual parties can be as fun as the physical parties so long as everyone interact and joins in the fun.
For the birthday itself, do consider buying suitable elderly birthday gifts for coping with pandemic.
Prepare a List of Emergency Contacts
Make the elderly feel safe by helping them compile a list of emergency contacts for them to reach out to in times of need. It will be useful to help them input it into their speed dial.
We must do our part to help the elderly feel safe and better cope with the current pandemic.