The elderly were among those affected by the Covid-19 stay-at-home rules. They weren’t allowed to go to public places or interact with their peers because they were highly at risk of getting infected. Those staying at assisted living homes no longer had the pleasure of weekend visits by their family, and the ones living alone couldn’t look forward to their morning walks and errands.
For many senior citizens, being stuck at home all day without the promise of an outdoor escape was torture. The sadder reality is that post-quarantine, this might be their new normal. If you’re living with a senior family member or know one who lives alone but is far away from you, you can ease their curtailed freedom by doing the following.
Make sure your home is a comfortable and peaceful place for them
It is essential to keep the noise down when you have seniors in your home, especially when they’re undergoing dementia care at home. Based on a study of sound sensitivity among young and older adults by the Western University in Canada, adults beyond 60 are more sensitive to sound than the younger ones. They are often unable to filter out loud and soft sounds. It means that in a noisy environment, they can’t concentrate on the sounds they want to hear because they hear everything, even the dull phone conversation in the next room.
Apart from a quiet room, assign a lounge area or reclining chair with soft cushions for your senior family member as they watch TV or a movie. Their bed must also have a firm mattress, so they won’t feel like they’re sinking. Give them music to calm their nerves if they are okay with it.
Ensure their complete and proper nutrition
If your elderly loved ones are in an assisted living home or living by themselves, they might not be getting as much nutritious food as they need during the pandemic. This is because supplies may be hard to come by, with the limited movement of transportation and services.
Find a way to deliver nutritious food for seniors and vitamins to boost their health. They need low-fat dairy (soya and other alternative milk products are good, too), colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains like wheat pasta and brown rice, and non-fat protein such as beans and lean meat. Choose milk products specifically for seniors to improve their muscle mass.
For vitamin supplements beneficial to seniors, give them:
- Vitamin B12 to prevent severe anemia and nerve problems
- Vitamin D supplements to increase immunity, fight depression, and prevent osteoporosis
- Omega-3 from fish oil supplements for heart health and to reduce inflammation
- Calcium for stronger bones and teeth
- Glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy cartilage, to prevent joint pain and osteoarthritis
Encourage them to do activities that inspire and stimulate their brain
Give them Paint by Numbers kits or coloring books for adults. Find books for them to read by their favorite authors. A lot of festival movies, West End and Broadway plays are streaming free on YouTube; share these links with them.
If they’re alert and capable of writing, encourage them to start a daily journal and put their thoughts and feelings on paper. This is especially important if dementia is setting in because they can record things that they would someday forget. They may compose poems, create an essay to contribute to the local magazine or write letters that they may or may not send.
Walk or exercise with them every day. Simple exercises for the elderly help stimulate brain activity and release happiness hormones that keep them cheerful and optimistic.
Talk to them at least once a day — or when they need you
If you don’t live with your senior family member, it’s more crucial to let them know that you think of them and their well-being. Give them a call to see how they’re doing. Facetime with them or do a video call via Zoom, Messenger, Viber, or WhatsApp. Make sure they also have your mobile number and social media accounts so that they could contact you anytime.
Involve them in your daily activities, such as scheduling a cooking session call, where you both prepare the same recipe together. You can start a watch party that includes them. They will be thrilled to do things with you or the entire family even when you’re miles away.
For many seniors, going outside represents independence and a change of scenery from their uneventful life. Without that freedom, they could quickly deteriorate. By making them comfortable, active, and relevant, you will help them maintain their physical, emotional, and psychological health.