You can’t go anywhere right now without hearing about the current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Really, you can’t go anywhere. At all. Now that the governor has issued a stay at home order through June 10, we wanted to help you with some ideas to cope. Obviously, you should pay attention to and heed advice from the CDC about guarding your physical health. Their advice for older adults includes everything you’ve heard before about social distancing. This is not that kind of post. We want to help you feel less isolated and guard your mental health during this time.
Mental Health for Seniors During COVID-19
As an older American, you’ve probably already been social distancing for a while to safeguard your health. Unfortunately, cutting yourself off from loved ones and normal activities takes a toll on your mental health. You know it’s for the best, but feelings of isolation can still get the best of you. Here are some ideas to help.
Part 1: Embrace Technology
Now is not the time to resist emerging technology. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, help you feel more connected with the ability to view pictures and see what loved ones have going on. Other products include Facetime and cell phone conferencing help keep you connected.
Many have started using platforms like Zoom to video conference with family and loved ones. You can find all kinds of tutorials for using this free software, even some specifically designed for seniors. You don’t have to have an account to chat with someone who invites you, but you can easily create a free account and host meetings yourself. The app Caribu offers another option to talk to children, particularly those who are younger. In many cases, seniors and small children find it difficult to have something to talk about. With this app, both users can color a picture or play a game while they talk about what they are doing.
Since schools are out all over the country, this also presents a great opportunity to help your grandchildren review concepts. You can read an age appropriate book together, if you have one. Other ideas include asking parents for sight words or math concepts the child needs to review. Then make some flashcards and have a little virtual learning time! Students (and parents) enjoy this because it puts a new face to the learning process and keeps them from getting bored doing the same activities with their parents. Look how much fun this grandmother is having reviewing words with different beginning sounds with her granddaughter!
Since we seem to be in this for the long haul, stay tuned here and on our Facebook page for more on how seniors can cope during this unexpected time.