Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones’ Mental and Emotional State During a Pandemic

Senior citizens on a couch

The threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has kept everyone inside their home, especially people who are most susceptible to the disease. Apart from children and patients with pre-existing health conditions, your aging loved ones are also discouraged from going outside during the pandemic.

Seniors are under stricter visitation guidelines — whether they are at home, receiving senior live-in care, or are in an assisted living community. No matter what your living situation is, however, it is essential to help your aging loved ones maintain good mental health during these trying times.

Due to the need for social distancing, most seniors might find themselves feeling blue. Social isolation and loneliness can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Their lack of social engagement can also negatively affect their thinking and memory.

How Can You Keep Your Loved Ones Engaged?

There are many ways you can keep your elderly loved ones mentally and emotionally stimulated in the current situation. Consider the following:

  • Connect them with technology. Technology might be new territory for the elderly, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t handle it. Some seniors have learned quite fast how to use devices to connect with their friends. Help them use their smartphone, iPad, or laptop so they can communicate with their friends and loved ones on the following platforms:
    • Facebook. Facebook is one of the best ways to stay connected with family and friends. Your loved ones can post photos, read about their friends’ activities, and repost activities.
    • Email. Good old-fashioned email is still an excellent way to communicate with others.
    • Facetime. This video and audio calling service can also help your loved ones see the people they chat with if they prefer talking than messaging.
  • Engage them with stimulating mental activities.
    • Games. Card and word games keep the mind active. Entertain your elderly loved ones with crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and Sudoku.
    • Reading. Reading stimulates the imagination and takes you to places you’ve never been before.
    • Writing. Encourage your loved ones to try journaling. They can write down their stories or feelings about the current situation.

Caregivers Can Help Seniors Stay Engaged

Senior man talking to a female

If you have a stay-at-home caregiver, they can also help facilitate engagement with your aging loved ones. They can fill your role while you attend to other important tasks, as well as look after your loved ones’ needs.

  • Companionship. Caregivers fill the lack of socialization due to the pandemic. Whether it is talking about current events, feelings, or history, they can keep a conversation that makes your loved ones feel appreciated and connected.
  • Help with technology. Caregivers can also teach your elderly loved ones how to use gadgets or be active on their social media apps.
  • Playing games. Having another person to play games with offers another form of entertainment to your seniors. Caregivers can teach your elderly loved ones new games to pass their time.

Isolation during the pandemic need not affect your loved ones’ mental and emotional health badly. Investing time for social activities with them can help alleviate their loneliness during these trying times.

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