Written by: Rita Magallona
Seniors are among those most affected by safe distancing measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. These public health measures mean that they now have less social and emotional support from family, friends, and fellow seniors. Our elderly parents, grandparents, and other relatives may no longer have access to organizations that provide community care services like counselling home visits.
The best way to keep seniors safe from the coronavirus is to keep them home. And to keep them home, you have to keep them happy. During the pandemic, how can we help the elderly cope with social isolation and disrupted routines?
5 Tips to Help Seniors Cope With Loneliness During the Pandemic
1. Connect with them regularly
This is the most obvious, especially if the senior family members are part of your household. Their usual friends are out of reach, so you’ll have to take their place. If they are not living with you, call them regularly at specific times of the day. This will give them a sense of rhythm and regularity, as well as something to look forward to.
When you contact them, let the elderly open up about how they feel and reminisce about the old days. Let them complain about what is happening. Whatever they say, listen and respond positively. A smile and the sound of your voice can brighten their day.
2. Teach them how to use technology
Now’s the time to give grandma that social media and video call tutorial. This will enable them to connect not only with you but also with other people who live further away. Reach out to your senior’s friends and relatives and help them reconnect. Bonus points if you schedule regular video calls with their adorable grandchildren.
3. Create a new routine
The coronavirus has disrupted the routine of your whole household, so it’s time to build a new one. When you do so, include the senior in your household. If they’re willing to help, give them something regular to do to help with the upkeep of the home. This will make them feel useful and valued.
4. Provide enough food and supplies
When you order groceries, you not only provide for their physical needs but also give them that sense of routine and regularity. What’s more, if they meet the delivery person, they get to see other people while observing safe distancing. Make sure you include medical necessities, prescription meds, and special treats in your supply run.
5. Join them in their hobbies
Is grandpa an amateur artist? Does grandma like playing Scrabble? Encourage the elderly to keep doing things that give them joy. For even more fun, ask them to teach it to you. And if all else fails, you can always just sit with them on the couch as they watch their favourite TV show.
Cheer up! With these tips, you can help the elderly cope with the loneliness caused by safe distancing measures. The key thing to remember is to keep seniors occupied and connected.
While you may be spending more quality time with the elderly member of your household, some senior citizens are in need of support. Good thing that you can offer help even while observing safe distancing measures.
Ohmyhome has been in partnership with TOUCH over the years.
TOUCH Community Services is a not-for-profit charity organisation in Singapore. Officially registered in 1992, TOUCH has been a member of the National Council of Social Service since 1994. The organisation has reached out to many individuals from all religions and ethnicity, including children, youth, families, people with special and healthcare needs, and the elderly.