7 ways to take care of elderly during pandemic
- Boredom, exhaustion, loneliness, sadness, helplessness and hopelessness during the pandemic has left the elderly distressed. An expert gives tips on how to provide emotional support to them.
Elderly people are feeling the brunt of pandemic like no one else is. Restricted to the confines of their homes with shrinking social circles, many of them are missing their morning walks and interaction with peers. Daily life in many families has come to a standstill and that has made things monotonous for everyone. No wonder mental health issues are on rise amid pandemic as a result of prolonged lockdowns. Boredom, exhaustion, loneliness, sadness, helplessness and hopelessness during the pandemic has left the elderly distressed, as per studies.
Our grandparents and elderly parents not only require physical care, but constant emotional support too so that they don't feel worthless or lose interest in day-to-day activities. Just like we find time for other important tasks in a day, talking to them and sharing their concerns should be included in everyday routine.
According to studies, social isolation not only increases chances of degenerative diseases like Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, but also risk of premature death. Poor social relationships were found to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke too.
"Looking at the decline in the physical and psychological status of the population, it is recommended that they are provided with conducive environment to uplift the constant decline occurring," says Ambika Chawla, Clinical Psychologist at Kaleidoscope - a unit of Dr. Bakshi’s Healthcare.
Chawla also gives tips to provide emotional support to elderly during 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 limited social circle, it is all the more important to give them company. Being professionally unoccupied may make them feel lonely and worthless. It is important to keep their moods uplifted.
2. Encourage your child to interact with their grandparents: Children and grandparents love to spend time together and have so much to learn from each other. While children could benefit from the wisdom of grandparents, elderly could find joy in the infectious and happy energy of children.
3. Games or cognitive activities: Considering elderly tend to face memory issues and cognitive decline, a persistent stimulating environment or games requiring planning, decision making, etc. and other cognitive activities can be included in their routine.
4. Regular health check-ups: Overt physical health can be deceitful at times. It is advisable especially in old age to keep having regular health check-ups to avoid any abrupt onset of illness, leading to unavoidable stress and tension.
5. Exchange of knowledge: Seniors can be proven good teachers of life as they have a lifetime of experiences to share. Their ideas, learnings, experiences must be welcomed by the new generation. At the same time, they must be updated with new technological or current affair information.
6. Recreational activities: It is a win-win for both children and elderly. Kids instead of being glued to screen, can play board games or involve in such activities with their grandparents, while they on the other hand will remain occupied.
7. Keeping pace with new technology: Technology has its positive side too as it can help elderly to stay connected with friends and family through video calls or messaging services. Besides learning new skills help their mind to stay active and involved in daily life.