7 Ways to Care for the Elderly During the Pandemic | Health
Seniors are feeling the shock of the pandemic like no one else. Confined to the confines of their homes with shrinking social circles, many of them miss their morning walks and interactions with their peers. Daily life in many families has come to a standstill and this has made things monotonous for everyone. No wonder mental health issues are on the rise amid the pandemic following extended lockdowns. Boredom, exhaustion, loneliness, sadness, helplessness and hopelessness during the pandemic have left older people in distress, studies show.
Our grandparents and elderly parents not only need physical care, but also constant emotional support so that they do not feel unnecessary or lose interest in daily activities. Just as we find time for other important tasks in a day, talking to them and sharing their concerns should be part of the daily routine.
According to studies, social isolation not only increases the risk of degenerative diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but also the risk of premature death. Poor social relationships have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
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“Looking at the decline in the physical and psychological state of the population, it is recommended to provide them with a conducive environment to elevate the constant decline that is occurring,” says Ambika Chawla, clinical psychologist at Kaleidoscope – a health care unit by Dr Bakshi.
Chawla also gives advice on providing emotional support to the elderly during the pandemic.
1. Spend time with them: Make sure to interact with them and encourage them to share what’s going on in their mind. If they have a small social circle, it is all the more important to keep them company. Being unoccupied professionally can make them feel lonely and worthless. It is important to keep their mood high.
2. Encourage your child to interact with his grandparents: Kids and grandparents love spending time together and have so much to learn from each other. While children might benefit from the wisdom of grandparents, the elderly might find joy in the infectious and happy energy of children.
3. Games or cognitive activities: Since older people tend to face memory problems and cognitive decline, a persistent stimulating environment or games that require planning, decision making, etc. and other cognitive activities can be included in their routine.
4. Regular health check-ups: Demonstrated physical health can sometimes be deceptive. It is advisable, especially in old age, to continue to have regular check-ups to avoid any sudden onset of the disease, leading to inevitable stress and tension.
5. Knowledge exchange: Older people can be good teachers of life because they have a lifetime of experiences to share. Their ideas, their learning, their experiences must be welcomed by the new generation. At the same time, they need to be updated with new technological or topical information.
6. Recreational activities: It is a win-win for children and the elderly. Children, instead of being glued to the screen, can play board games or participate in such activities with their grandparents, while they will stay busy.
7. Keep pace with new technologies: Technology also has its bright side as it can help older people stay in touch with friends and family through video calls or messaging services. In addition to learning new skills, their minds remain active and involved in daily life.