Smoking, obesity and loneliness are the world’s most preventable causes of early death. And loneliness in particular, applies to seniors citizens more than anyone else. The topic of loneliness is more important now than ever because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Isolation and social distancing may help in protecting elders from the virus but it is introducing them to another dangerous situation of loneliness. Coronavirus has predominantly claimed the lives of elderly people with pre-existing conditions the most and it is important that we take care of the seniors in this situation.
It is on us to help them overcome loneliness by letting them know that we care and are with them every step of the way. The feeling of being alone not only affects their mental health but also slowly takes a toll on their physical wellbeing too. This leaves them vulnerable and can lead to depression. Elders or senior citizens who are lonely usually find it hard to reach out to their loved ones. But we can do our part to help them combat this preventable condition and make them feel appreciated, loved and lively again.
If you have or know of an elderly person in isolation during this quarantine season, here’s what you can do to help them.
1. Make a phone or video call:
Send them small clicks from home or silly clips of their grandchildren to make them laugh. Talk to them and don’t shy away from asking the tough questions. Make sure you give them the assurance that even though the news looks bad, everything is going to be okay and that you appreciate them for being strong. They would also love to see the faces of their family so make sure to schedule a few video phone calls per week to make them feel loved.
2. Deliver care packages:
How about getting their favourite snacks, flowers or even chocolates delivered to them with small handwritten notes attached? Fill the care packs with useful items like hygiene products, soaps and other germ-free gifts for everyday use. If possible, give them a surprise visit through the window (it is advisable to avoid physical contact considering the social distancing measures in place) while dropping off the package. We bet this would make their entire day!
3. Play virtual games with them:
Schedule a suitable time for them to join in on the family game time and challenge them to a game or two. Monopoly, Scrabble and a lot of other card games can be played virtually and as a group. Fun activities like these can make them feel closer to you and help them connect better. It also helps to keep their minds active, aiding them improve their cognitive skills.
4. Teach them a skill:
Has your grandparent always wanted to learn to play the piano, paint or garden? Think about setting up virtual classes for them. This helps them to spend quality time learning something useful and also helps them build virtual connections. You could also help them become tech savvy by teaching them how to easily operate a smartphone or even the tablet.
5. Involve them in family matters:
Simple things like involving elders in a meal prep, grocery shopping list and even meal planning activity can bring them the sense of inclusivity and companionship. All these can be done over a simple phone or video call.
These are just some of the many ways in which we as caring human beings can help our elders combat loneliness and find happiness & calmness in this chaotic situation. All it takes is a few tweaks, a phone call or a simple video message to help overcome stress and bring a smile to their face. Our goal at The Chennai Homes Aishwaryam is also exactly the same. We strive day & night to see them happy, satisfied and healthy when they are with us, encouraging them to participate in physical and social activities to help keep their mind and body fit. We truly believe that each passing day can be converted into a joyful one if we attempt to make it that way.