A lot of older people get lonely, and the pandemic has only increased these issues. If you have elderly parents, then your first priority was probably making sure they had enough food in and prescription medicines or worrying about the impact of Covid in care homes. Even as restrictions are eased, many older people are still being advised to stay indoors, so will still need some help. How can you best help them?
Keep Routines As Familiar As Possible
If your elderly relatives suffer from dementia or other memory problems, then their routines are very important to their wellbeing.
Inevitably, Covid-19 will have to cause some changes to routine. Try to keep as much from their normal routine as you are able to, and make some adaptions where you can’t. For example, if you always used to visit them on a Saturday morning, but can’t due to restrictions in your area, arrange a phone call at your usual visit time instead.
Encourage them to get up at the same time every day, and keep to a routine with their hobbies and regular chores. Take inspiration from aged care support services and make time for hobbies and activities that they enjoy. Encourage them to have a usual mealtime and a plan for what they will have to eat.
Take A Sensible Approach To The News
For a lot of elderly people, the News is part of their daily routine. However, it’s a good idea to practice some caution when it comes to the News at the moment. There’s a lot of worrying information about the pandemic out there, especially in terms of the impact it may have on the elderly and those living in care homes. All this information might only increase their fears and cause their sense of isolation and hopelessness to grow.
Try to encourage them to get their News from a more balanced source, if you’re concerned about where they get their news from, with reports on things other than the Coronavirus included. There are other things still going on in the world, and balancing information about the pandemic with other news might help.
Recruit Family And Friends
With visits to some care homes still not allowed in some areas, or more difficult in others, you might benefit from having a few different people to check in with your elderly relatives. Get family and friends together and plan a schedule of phone calls. Make sure these calls fit in with the routine of your parent but keep the calls regular. This way, your loved one will always have someone to talk to, something to look forward to, and a way to feel connected to their loved ones.
Family and friends can stay connected in other ways. You could write regular emails or letters with news from the family. If you have young children in the family, maybe they could draw pictures to send. If your parents are computer savvy, arrange video calls with the family so they can see every one, even while visits are more restricted.