With the situation and timeline surrounding the Corona Virus still uncertain, we need to do our part to ensure those we love and the most vulnerable feel safe, cared for and loved.
How to care for the elderly and most vulnerable is already at our fingertips, and just a click away.
Many people enjoy and even prefer quiet mornings, breakfasts alone with just them and their newspapers. They thrive being in their own spaces, with just themselves and their thoughts. But some are the opposite. They prefer “good mornings” from their loved ones and meetings on their way in and out of the kitchen. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought the world to a silent standstill. With social isolation and physical distancing the recommended way to live out our day-to-day for the unforeseen future, many are left living in total and complete isolation and feeling the negative effects that come with it.
Humans are naturally social beings and this has been a difficult adjustment for individuals across the board. Isolation from the people and things we love can bring about or enhance pre-existing feelings of sadness, depression and loneliness.
Anxiety has been on the rise for years and the Coronavirus has only enhanced it. People are missing their families and friends, school, jobs and even important life events such as weddings, births and graduations. For the average individual, the realization that these important days that they have been looking forward to all their lives are just not happening is soul crushing and brings about feelings of hopelessness.
For an elderly individual the effects can be even more devastating. We already know how lack of social and physical interaction, isolation and seclusion can bring on heart troubles, weaken the immune system and increase cognitive decline. Coupled with old age, pre-existing conditions, mobility issues and lack of care a person migrates into the “vulnerable” category, which could lead to sickness and even death. The longer the isolation period and with COVID-19 so unpredictable and no clear end in sight, the effects of isolation will continue to get worse with time. Feelings of hopelessness will grow, motivation and confidence will decline and seniors will find it harder to function day to day and do things they love.
But there are ways you and I can overcome this challenging period and fight the effects of isolation, all while still social distancing safely. All while taking advantage of what we already have at our fingertips.
1. Getting outdoors and riding our bikes or going for walks with those in our households, gardening and doing exercises such as Yoga and Pilates are all proven ways to increase the release of endorphins (our natural “feel-good” hormones) and lower anxiety and feelings of panic and stress. Physical exercise coupled with hobbies is a great way to beat the feelings of isolation, stay healthy and boost your immune system.
However, for the elderly, things are different. With limited mobility, physical support and being higher-risk at this time, they may be more apprehensive or fearful of going outside as well as find it harder and more dangerous. Their natural resources are limited along with their movement. But to help with that we can find many exercise videos, information and resources online. A Lot can be done from their own home with the best smartphones such as Androids and Apple Iphones and Ipads and tablets. These especially are great for seniors as they are large in size, the buttons are easy to visualize and the images are large and clear.
To get the benefits of fresh air or Vitamin D they should regularly sit on their balconies or in their yards and be sure to crack open their windows! Fresh air keeps their living spaces breathable.
2. But even the most physically fit person needs to exercise their brains! Cognitive health, education and memory are all going to be effected with the change in times. Loss of daily routine, good healthy habits and education for some, will put people in a “funk” so to speak. Reading, journaling, card games, Sudoku, drawing and playing music or singing are all ways to exercise your brain.
For decades we have known the many benefits of cognitive brain exercises such as Math, music theory and practice and art, but there is an increased benefit found within the senior citizen community. Again, many of their games and activities can be found online. The benefits of playing online is that you can often simulate praying with or against another player, the visual is enlarged for those with poor eyesight and audio is controllable for those hard of hearing or who are sensitive to loud noises. The variety of online games offered can be found in one place and span in genre, decade or level of difficulty.
3. Meditating is a powerful way to stay calm and grounded. Balancing your mind, body and soul is a key factor in overcoming stress and anxiety. Just taking the time to check in with yourself, express gratitude for all the positive things in your life can change your outlook for the remainder of the day. Optimal times to meditate are not just when experiencing stress, but first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep.
This is one of the simplest exercises as little to no outside resources are needed, it can be done anywhere and at any time and solo! Anyone and everyone should do it! But again, there are online resources to help get you started!
4. Diet is equally important to exercise. Stress eating is common and there is no need to munch on chocolate or cookies. It is important to treat yourself once in a while, but try and stick to as many fresh fruits and veggies as possible, whole grains and lean meats and poultry. The momentary rush and high you get from eating sweets, processed fatty foods and sugary drinks will cause you to peak and crash and fast. The unsatisfied and guilty feelings you are left with will only make you feel worse. The sugar high and crash will make you feel worse.
Seniors can use online videos to learn new exciting recipes, but also order their meals to be delivered safely right to their doors. They can order anything from fast food to fresh fruits and veggies. Both prepared and unprepared. They can save restaurants, grocery stores and even recipess they like and set reminders to order more products or even reminders to consume them! Aside from the current situation surrounding COVID-19 the world has moved online and with the internet anything is possible. Note: The best smartphones and tablets for seniors recommended are Samsung Galaxy, based on its performance, user-friendly system and size of screen.
5. Speaking with family, friends, students, colleagues and co-workers via any of the dozens of social media platforms and messenger apps is an important part of feeling connected. Some of the most popular platforms for this are Facebook and Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, Instagram, WhatsApp and TikTok. There are even more that we could name.
This is possibly the biggest benefit to the internet. It is so easy to feel alone, get in a rut and stay there while falling deeper and deeper. Seniors having the power to not only send messages and place calls to loved ones, but be connected in a way that it can be reciprocated is a major development in the way we combat feelings of isolation and depression. It is a two-way street and being able to check up on those who matter most to you have extraordinary and unknown effects. Caring for seniors during the COVID 19 pandemic by placing a 5 minute phone call could turn their frowns upside down and change the way they approach the day and feel about the current state of the world.
“We are in this together” isn’t just a saying, it is a state of being. But the older you are the harder this may be. Knowing that you are missing weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and depending on their situation, that you may not be present for the next one, can leave seniors feeling more depressed than ever. Luckily we have seen the younger generations step it up in more ways than one. Sending their love over the internet, through a window, standing 6 feet away, through song and just a friendly hello!
Bringing people together is what Sirona.tv is all about. Our program brings patients together with their doctors, mothers and fathers together with their children, grandparents together with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and seniors together with the world.
We developed a program that does all the above and much more.Sirona.tv is easily accessible on desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, Ipads and tablets. We see the benefits of these activities and want to help, especially during COVID-19.
For more information on how Sirona.tv can help you and your loved ones you can contact us below.
We would love to hear how you are beating the feelings of loneliness and feeling more connected than ever. How are you caring for the elderly and vulnerable?
Sirona.tv – Keeping people together, while they are staying apart!