As some states and countries gradually start to re-open following weeks of quarantine, vulnerable elderly adults in care facilities remain in isolation and seniors living at home are strongly encouraged to continue to stay safe inside. But older adults are feeling the strain of isolation, frustration and possibly depression as the pandemic continues to radically alter their lives. Families, neighbors and friends can help isolated older adults with phone calls and assistance getting the food and medications they need; and an appropriately distanced driveway chat can do wonders for the spirit!
In Florida, where more than 19 percent of the population is over 65, Senior Touchline offers a free service for people over 60 who live alone. A daily phone call provides seniors with regular social contact and may help prevent serious health problems by connecting elderly adults with services such as Meals on Wheels, healthcare or medication management.
Many municipalities are also providing regular check-in calls from a volunteer and supplying older adults with fresh, frozen or shelf-stable meal delivery. Check with your local state or provincial website for area agencies on aging and other partners for seniors.
With staff stretched thin in nursing homes and residents missing visits from friends and family as well as regular social activities, the motivation for seniors to get up each day, get dressed and move around diminishes. But people, even those without a family member in long-term care, can pitch in by volunteering with a phone bank, sending letters and care packages, donating tablets for video chats or helping an elderly neighbor with groceries or other essential errands. Check out Facebook for a neighborhood or subdivision page to share information or NextDoor, a social networking hub for neighbors.
In a time of fear and uncertainty, focusing on what is possible and how to help others can give life meaning and purpose when so much is beyond the control of the individual.