The COVID-19 pandemic, along with social distancing guidelines and rapidly changing warnings and recommendations, has taken a toll on everyone, but senior citizens have been particularly hard hit. Seniors fall into the high-risk group not only because of their age, but also because they are more likely to have underlying health conditions than the rest of the population. As a result, many seniors have been facing depression due to isolation from family and friends, anxiety from the fear of becoming ill, and physical decline because they are not taking care of their health. Here are some tips to help you combat the pandemic blues.
- Take care of your health You may be fearful of exposing yourself to COVID-19 by going to doctors’ offices, however it can be just as risky to not obtain the medical care you need, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Make sure you keep up with all necessary medical appointments. If possible, see if your healthcare providers offer telemedicine appointments, so you don’t have to leave your home to get the care you need. And make sure you keep up with your prescription medications and order refills before you run out.
- Get the nourishment you need Another part of taking care of your health is to eat right and stay hydrated. Keep your fridge, freezer and pantry stocked with healthy foods. If you have trouble getting out to the supermarket, either order online or ask a family member or friend to pick things up for you. Check out this guide to grocery shopping during the pandemic.
You can also consider registering for your local Meals-on-Wheels food delivery service and treat yourself to takeout from local restaurants.
- Stay connected to family and friends While you have to limit your exposure to others during this time, there is a wealth of technology that can help you stay connected with those you love. While nothing takes the place of face-to-face visits, phone calls can be the next best thing. If you have a smart phone, you can use FaceTime so that you can see the person you are talking to on your screen. You can also use your smartphone to have multi-person calls with family and friends or even participate in group text messages. You can also participate in Zoom “get-togethers” on your computer so that you can see and speak to friends and family on your computer or phone screen. If you’ve never used Zoom before, check out this YouTube video that explains how to use it.
- Stay active In many ways, it feels like the world has stopped. But don’t let that keep you from keeping your body and mind active. Keep up with your normal exercise routine. If you don’t normally exercise, now may be a perfect time to begin (with your doctor’s permission) to improve your physical well-being. And keep your mind busy too, by keeping up with or starting new hobbies. Some suggestions include reading, puzzles, crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking and playing online games … the possibilities are endless! Need more ideas? Here are the 15 most popular hobbies to start during the pandemic.
Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually be manageable enough that restrictions will be eased or lifted and senior citizens will be able to return to a sense of normalcy in their everyday lives. Until then, keep yourself informed about warnings and recommendations from healthcare experts. AARP constantly updates the Latest News and Guidance on the Coronavirus, so make sure you stay in the know. And equally important, keep your mind and body active and stay connected to those you love however you can.