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The COVID pandemic has taken a toll on all of our mental health. The social distancing, the constant state of anxiety — it’s a wonder any of us get up and work every day.
But the group that’s possibly suffered the most? The elderly.
Since they’re among the most vulnerable in society, many older adults have been forced to stay in their homes indefinitely because going out in public would simply be too dangerous. And even those who live in residential communities have often been locked in their rooms, all day every day.
Many elderly individuals have been stripped of their social lives and abilities to interact with the world, leading many of them to sink into a depression.
But there are actually things you can do to help your elderly loved ones and make sure they stay mentally healthy. Below, we address some of the most pressing issues facing older adults and how you can do your part.
With many older adults feeling isolated and alone, it’s more important than ever that we reach out and make sure our loved ones get human interaction. Since many elderly folks aren’t exactly tech-savvy, you’ll most likely have to opt for phone calls over Facetimes or Zoom.
Aim to call your loved ones at least once a week. If it helps, try marking it on your calendar so you don’t forget. That will also help establish a routine that may work for both of you.
If your elderly parents or loved ones are used to relying on you for home assistance, it will probably be a big adjustment for them to suddenly be on their own. Not only have they lost the human interaction aspect, but they also may struggle to take care of themselves. Things that may seem simple to you — doing the laundry, taking a shower — can be extremely difficult for older adults.
If it isn’t safe for you to visit during COVID, you may want to consider electing a family member or close family friend to move in as a home aid. There are some states, like Nevada for example, that will actually pay you to care for your loved ones through their personal care services. Look into what options your state has so you can look after your loved ones while getting paid for it.
With more and more elderly individuals stuck at home alone, they’ll definitely need a more accessible living arrangement. Consider installing rails in the bathroom, a shower chair, a toilet chair, and maybe even a chair lift if they have stairs. These things can make their life significantly less stressful and add to their overall quality of life.
A Final Note
As COVID rages on, it’s our responsibility to look after our loved ones, especially those who may need extra care. While all of these solutions won’t necessarily work for everyone, they should be a good starting point. Make sure you work with your elderly family members to best understand their needs and how you can support them.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.