Isolation. Fear. Loneliness. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on us all in one way or another, but for older adults especially, the seclusion necessary to ensure safety from COVID-19 has had harmful effects on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. At Anthem Home Care, a leading provider of senior home care in Portland and the surrounding areas, there are steps we can take in order to reduce social isolation in the elderly, including helping older adults retain the social connections that are so vital to their own health.
- Safe socialization. While we’ve become familiar with the phrase “social distancing,” it is not the socialization itself we need to distance ourselves from, of course, but only the physical proximity to others. Remaining socially connected throughout the pandemic may not look exactly like we’d like without physical touch, but there are plenty of ways an in-home caregiver can help encourage older adults to still be near to those they love. Whether an older adult prefers old-fashioned letter writing and phone calls, or is open to making use of social media or technology for virtual face-to-face conversations, we can help seniors reach out to others often.
- Maximizing time with trusted companions. For seniors who live alone, spending quality time with an in-home caregiver will help tremendously with easing feelings of isolation. We make time to play board games, bake, have conversations, do arts and crafts together, perhaps even take an online course together to learn a new language or another skill.
- Limiting exposure to the news. While it is essential to stay up to date regarding the latest facts about the pandemic and other news items of importance, too much time spent reading or watching the news is likely to raise a senior’s stress and anxiety levels. Our caregivers encourage seniors to create practical goals related to news intake: perhaps one 30-minute news program each morning, and another at dinnertime, and fill the rest of the day with positive TV shows, reading materials, and other engaging activities.
- Practicing positivity. Thinking about all of the “what ifs” can be overwhelming. We help older adults shift their thinking to a more positive mindset and internal dialogue through gratitude, prayer, mindfulness, guided meditation or yoga, or even through ensuring they devote time to speaking with a particular friend or family member who has a way of regularly looking on the bright side.
- Enjoying nature. Being outside in and of itself eliminates stress and anxiety; our caregivers safely help seniors enjoy walks and other types of physical exercise for an extra calming effect. We are also careful to strictly follow safety guidelines – staying apart from others, wearing a face covering, etc.
- Helping somebody else. There’s no better elixir to feeling down than helping someone else up. Even while remaining at home, there are plenty of ways older adults make a difference in the lives of others. Together, we can brainstorm ideas related to an older adult’s particular passions and interests; for example, writing and mailing cards of encouragement to nursing home residents, putting together care packages for the homeless or disabled veterans, making baby blankets for a local organization that assists single mothers, or baking homemade dog treats to send to the animal shelter.
Let Anthem Home Care’s professional, knowledgeable caregivers help the older adults you love overcome loneliness and isolation. We abide by all recommended procedures to safely care for seniors in the home, and love bringing smiles to the faces of those we serve. Contact us at 361-643-2323 for more information about senior home care in Portland and the surrounding communities.