Coronavirus and the Elderly

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The lives of people all over the world have changed radically due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Adults 60 and older, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, are more vulnerable than other age groups.

Read further to find tips on how to make an older loved one feel involved, purposeful and less lonely during the pandemic:

  • Encourage the elderly to think beyond their usual circle of friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation. Show them how to video chat with others using smartphones, laptops or tablets.
  • With many houses of worship closing their doors until the pandemic eases, the older congregants may feel cut off. Find access to online services and outreach for spiritual solace and support.
  • Keep abreast of essential, up-to-date information. If your neighbourhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to stay connected to neighbours, information and resources.
  • Use apps to provide captions for adults with hearing challenges.
  • Make elders a part of important decisions. Not only will you gain from their experiences, but it will also make them feel valued.
  • Encourage friends and family to telephone, write notes or send cards to lift your loved one’s spirits.
  • Start a project. Organise old photos and memorabilia together, and enjoy the stories and happy memories they inspire. Encourage them to cook a favourite family recipe, or share favourite songs or movies.

Most importantly, make time for yourself. It’s all too easy to become lost in the role of a carer. Regularly check a trusted information source such as the WHO’s dedicated website or the national public health agency. It may be difficult to imagine, but things will get better. Keep your spirits high, because this too shall pass.

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