The coronavirus can be deadly to anyone who catches it. However, it is especially dangerous for seniors. About eight of every ten deaths from this virus have been in people ages 65 and over. Normal weakening of the immune system and preexisting conditions both complicate matters for seniors. According to experts, the best thing seniors can do currently is to self-isolate and practice social distancing. However, we can’t just ignore how challenging it is to live in lock down. Especially in seniors, it can lead to anxiety, depression, paranoia, and extreme loneliness. Luckily, there are several ways younger people can help seniors cope throughout this crisis. Helping seniors might be easier than you think.
NBC News describes several ways we can go about helping seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. First of all, we also must practice self isolation and social distancing. It is advised to not be in physical contact with seniors unless we are a caregiver. In this case, it’s important to treat your own body as if it were an extension of the person we’re caring for. If not, we could easily transmit germs to the senior, no matter how careful they are being.
Many of us can’t be with our aging loved ones now. Therefore, teaching them how to use technology can be so helpful. Many seniors these days have their own smartphone or computer. If we can help them learn programs like Facetime or Skype, we can help them stay socially connected and distant at the same time.
Another way we can be helping seniors is to simply be a listening ear for them. Many seniors not only worry about their own risk, but their family and friends as well. Let them vent to you. Give your parents or grandparents a call more often. And encourage them to open up about their feelings. Seniors and people in general greatly benefit from having someone just listen and validate their feelings.
Additionally, if you’re feeling ambitious, try contacting a local senior center or nursing home to ask how you can help. Some are coming up with creative volunteer programs like “friendship lines”, where you can call and chat with seniors you don’t even know. Or maybe you could deliver groceries or meals to seniors in need. Other places may need donations of items like personal protective equipment (PPE). No matter how you decide to help seniors during the pandemic, know that you will be making a positive impact on their health and well-being!