As we are all experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to consider the needs of the seniors in our lives and in our communities.
State and local health agencies are taking steps to ensure that seniors are physically protected from the virus, including directives for those 65 and older to stay home including shelter in place orders and quarantines directed at seniors. Many families are searching for guidance and solutions to ensure their loved ones are best taken care of.
This isolation can take a toll on a senior’s mental and physical health, and it’s important to remember that there are things we can all do to foster connection, hope, purpose, and support for seniors during this difficult time.
Families, caregivers and health professionals should work with seniors to develop a plan that allows them to take part in activities they love, follow the self-isolation recommendations of health agencies, and maintain positive mental health.
This can include:
- Ensuring basic needs are being met. Caregivers, loved ones, and volunteers considered low risk (those under 65 without preexisting medical conditions) can help seniors by running errands, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, helping with online orders of delivery of food and supplies, and taking care of other tasks outside of the home. With self-isolation guidelines in place, seniors should remember that there are people willing to help them stay safe.
- Connecting with others whenever possible. Spending time with loved ones doesn’t have to happen in-person to be meaningful. Video calls, Facetime, texts and emails can help seniors stay in touch with loved ones when they can’t be together. Get the whole family in on connecting with loved ones.
- Enjoying the things they love. Life doesn’t stop when staying at home, talk to your senior about what they enjoy – uncovering old favorites can lead to new memories like an at home spelling bee, a spirited game of cards, or a renewed love of art. For any activity and hobby, there’s a virtual version available. For those that love art, museums are offering online tours for those that can’t visit. There are a host of music options available on streaming services, and singing and dancing is just as fun in the living room! And, podcasts on any topic can be streamed on a phone, website or through a virtual assistant.
- Get some exercise. It’s important for seniors to continue movement and motion through exercise, even during a period of isolation. Ensuring a senior’s range of motion is still intact through daily stretching or yoga is a great way to keep moving. Keep moving by getting steps in when you can or turn up the tunes and have a dance party in the living room! Lifting light weights at home can help keep muscles strong when getting out of the house may not be an option. Gyms and fitness professionals are offering free at-home workouts for those that have permission from their physician to exercise.
- Maintain a healthy diet. When we spend a lot of time at home it’s often easy to grab a bite anytime we pass the kitchen. It’s important to keep in mind healthy options when snacking to avoid too many salty or sweet snacks. And, when meal prepping remember the food pyramid – fruit, veggies, calcium, grain, and proteins.
- It’s a great time for spring cleaning! Not only is disinfecting surfaces in the home a recommended step to avoiding the Coronavirus, it’s also a good time to consider a larger spring-cleaning project. And, a spring refresh doesn’t have to be a chore – seniors can make housework fun by playing upbeat music or using the time to look at photos and mementos with loved ones.
- Spring serves up holidays that are pure fun. Seniors and their loved ones should make it a point to celebrate occasions like Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Easter and the first day of spring. Whether it’s making a special meal, dressing up or sending cards to loved ones, holidays offer lots of opportunities for connection – even when families aren’t together.
- Find joy in everyday activities. Take time to enjoy the small things – card games, baking projects, a good cup of coffee, a phone call with a friend, eating your favorite food. There are always opportunities for meaningful moments and joyful days with a little planning, conversation and intentional action.
For those in need of a little extra help at home, Comfort Keepers can help. Find out more about our uplifting in-home care services at ComfortKeepers.com.
Below is a suggestion list for activities to do with the senior in your care. Whether you are with them in person or remotely, they can be enjoyable and stimulating to the mind.
- Have a spelling bee; really challenge yourself
- Read suspense or romance novels out loud
- Order a herb garden online, and watch it grow
- Order supplies to garden in a pot
- Send your senior a coffee or tea of the week.
- Order supplies from an online crafts store for your loved one’s favorite hobby or something fun and new
- Have your senior narrate parts of their life for you. Write down the memories and create a booklet with photos for you all to cherish
- Picnic in the backyard or inside
- Fashion show at home
- Watch favorite classic movies
- Watch classic TV shows from childhood together and talk about it
- Have fun with adult coloring books
- Paint by numbers
- Read your horoscope every day
- Try Wii sports
- Make a Sundae bar at home
- Gather items to donate
- Organize a room, a drawer or closet
- Phone or Video calls with family
- Look at old albums and yearbooks
- Try scrap booking
- Watching the Travel Channel or History Channel
- Voice journaling/journaling
- Create a recipe book for the family
- Have fun with Snapchat filters
- Learn a language online
- Watch documentaries
- Have a culture day: Watch a foreign film and cook a meal
- Visit a virtual museum, go to a virtual concert, ballet and opera
- Play online Bingo
- Put together a collage
- Play Charades
- Have a formal tea
- Make origami
- Press flowers
- Make greeting cards
- Order supplies and paint rocks
- Plan a dream vacation
- Try a new food or restaurant
- Watch old music videos
- Start corresponding with a pen pal
- Listen to music favorites; make a playlist
- Download a new podcast or audio book
- Make a family tree
- Make a time capsule
Shelter in Place Resources and ideas are fun to take a look and can provide valuable guidance. Comfort Keepers is about the care of the whole person, body, mind and spirit. For more information click here.
Comfort Keepers, 697 Broad St Shrewsbury, New Jersey 07702 (732) 530-3636