It is essential that families take care of their senior relatives during these difficult times. And it must not be forgotten that older members of the community without family will need support as well. Here are ten tips on how you can best support older people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Take Good Care of Yourself
If you are caring for an elderly member of the family or an older person in your community, you must do all that you can to avoid contracting the virus yourself. Follow all the coronavirus precautions suggested by the authorities in your region and avoid putting yourself at risk by attending any large gatherings of people. You may suffer little more than high temperature and cough if you contract COVID-19, but the seniors that you are caring for may not be so fortunate.
Follow the Rules if You Visit a Senior Relative
Be extra cautious if you visit an elderly relative. Take extra care with social distancing and hygiene during a visit to an older person’s home. It would be best if you wear a face mask during a visit, avoid physical contact, and of course, be sure to sanitize your hands. Always remember that you can be a carrier of coronavirus without displaying any symptoms.
Stay in Touch with Senior Family Members During Coronavirus Pandemic
Even if an older person is not self-isolating, they will likely be reluctant to go out, so it will help an older person a great deal if their family and friends keep in touch by phone or by video chat. It might be a good idea to set up a rota with other family members so that your senior relative gets regular contact.
Keep Seniors Well Informed About the Virus
Make sure that seniors are aware of the local coronavirus situation and that they understand the latest COVID-19 safety advice. It would also be a good idea to talk about the dangerous myths that have been circulating about the virus and warn seniors about the coronavirus scams that they may encounter.
Talk About Other Things
Although seniors must be aware of the dangers of coronavirus, you do not want the pandemic to be the only topic of conversation, so when you call an older relative, talk about the fun times you had in the past, the fun things you will be able to do in the future, and keep them up to date with family news. Seniors are likely to be seeing lots of scary stories on TV right now, so it wouldn’t hurt to take their minds off the pandemic for a while.
Offer to Help with Shopping
Older people may be nervous about visiting stores and they may have difficulties with online shopping, so make sure that your older relatives can get their groceries themselves, or offer to do their shopping for them. Some seniors can be stubbornly proud and independent, so remind older people that everyone needs some support during a pandemic. There is no shame whatsoever in asking for a bit of help during such unusual circumstances.
Help Older People with the Technology
Everyone has had to get used to video chat in the past few months. It is much easier for younger people who are already familiar with computers and smartphones to learn how to use new technology, than it is for seniors. Make sure that your elderly relatives get the support they need in learning how to use video conferencing apps, and encourage seniors to use technology to stay in touch with their friends as well as their family.
Setup Virtual Family Gatherings
Once your older relatives have got used the technology, you can set up group family video chats. One thing that seniors will be missing right now is getting together with the whole family. Big social gatherings are not a good idea during a pandemic. Still, you can get everyone together in a family video chat instead. Don’t forget to include the younger members of your family in your virtual gatherings. Kids will be missing their grandparents just as much as the seniors will be missing seeing their grandkids.
Research Local Resources
If you cannot visit your elderly relatives very often, you may want to investigate what help and support there is available to them locally. They may, for example, be able to get their shopping and medications delivered to them. There may also be financial support available during the coronavirus pandemic for seniors living on a low income. Some charities are also offering to call seniors for a regular chat to help older people with the isolation caused by the pandemic. Our Alaska resource for COVID 19 is a great place to start.
Be There for your Senior loved ones
Possibly the most useful thing you can do to help senior family members during Coronavirus pandemic is to let them know that they are not alone. Seniors may simply want to call someone to let off a bit of steam and talk about the virus. Seniors may have already lost friends to the illness. They will be concerned about the safety of their family too, so be ready for a long phone call from the older people that you know. And be prepared to give seniors some reassurance that the coronavirus crisis will not last forever.
The death rate for COVID-19 is far higher amongst older people than it is amongst younger generations. The seniors in your family are going to be more concerned about the virus, and they will likely feel more isolated by the lockdown and social distancing rules. Hopefully, the above tips will give you some ideas about how you can help older people cope with the pandemic. Get creative to help senior family members during Coronavirus pandemic.