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Comfort Keepers helps seniors maintain well-being during social distancing

Isolation can take a toll on a senior’s mental and physical health. In fact, the health effects of social isolation and loneliness on seniors is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day (AARP.org).

During a period of time when staying at home and socially distancing is essential, it’s important to remember that there are things we can all do to foster connection, hope, purpose and support for seniors. 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 more information visit www.comfortkeepers.com. For more ideas on staying active and engaged during this difficult time, visit https://www.comfortkeepers.com/info-center/category/coronavirus-resources/article/senior-isolation.

Submitted by Mollie Simmons