While the coronavirus outbreak poses health risks for the whole population, seniors appear to be particularly vulnerable. The main vulnerability people think of is that seniors have a fragile immune system or a chronic illness that could make them less able to fight COVID-19. However, there is another vulnerability many people don’t think of and that is social isolation.
Seniors often struggle with loneliness under regular circumstances, let alone during a pandemic. Currently seniors are being encouraged not to leave their home or even visit with family members that do not live with them. So, how can seniors stay connected to avoid the effects of isolation? Here are some tips for caregivers:
- Call your senior more frequently. We all have a little more time on our hands right now so this is an easy one!
- Get kids to work on art projects or letters for a grandparent and send it through the mail or drop one off for a neighbor.
- Help your senior learn new technology such as Face Time, Facebook or Skype. Do you have an extra laptop or tablet laying around? If you don’t maybe order a new one, have it delivered to your house, set it up for your loved one and deliver it to their doorstep. Consider adding a social media account (with their permission of course), add their favorite music, maybe even download a couple books for them to read.
- Ask your relative or neighbor if they need help picking up groceries or prescriptions. This is a good way to make sure they have food in the house and to check in on them.
- Meals on Wheels is still delivering food to seniors. If they are not already signed up for the service, visit the website to get more information. A friendly volunteer will deliver the meal.