I guess most of us can say we never thought we would be spending a good portion of Spring 2020 sheltering in place.  For those of us who are lucky enough to have our loved ones at home with us and to have at least one member of our household working, the stay at home order has given us time to cook, enjoy family dinners, board games and catch up on all those Academy Award movie nominees that we had missed.  No one needs reminding there are many out there who are not as fortunate, particularly the senior population. The fear of this pandemic and the fact that so many seniors are living alone leads to depression and anxiety in times like these. Many are isolated and afraid.  

 

What can we do to help?  For safety reasons, visiting older adults may not be the best choice and is currently not an option in Adult Living Communities. However, family members can talk, via face-time or skype.  Even if your parents or older friends are not computer savvy, many senior communities are offering to connect seniors with their loved ones via one of the many methods of video communication.  Video check ins are more helpful in determining increased frailty, and physical/mental well being and body language can’t be read on a regular phone call.. If video chatting isn’t an option at this time, a daily phone call  will at least keep you connected and help prevent feelings of isolation.

 

Some other ideas to help your older adult get through this challenging time.  Set up grocery deliveries and medication shipments. Order surprise gifts like puzzles, sudoku or crossword books, boxes of tea or bags of fresh coffee to be delivered.  If you are able to visit safely, help your senior set up an audio book application through his/her local library. Of course, my personal favorite gift is a new book (don’t forget to order in large print if necessary).  If your parent or friend is missing his/her exercise routine, a workout band or small hand weights may help lessen the feeling of inactivity.  

 

Know an older adult in your neighborhood who might not have family or friends to get him/her through this difficult time?  A five minute phone call may make a very big difference in that senior’s day…or week. If you know a senior who might need assistance, please reach out your local Council on Aging.  

 

Alone but together.  Stay safe everyone.