The constant changes we’ve experienced during the coronavirus pandemic have been difficult for everyone. Mental health concerns are affecting every demographic, but the senior population can be even more vulnerable to the anxiety, sadness, and loneliness many of us are feeling. Being in a high risk demographic, many seniors are feeling more isolated than the rest of us as they stay at home or in a nursing home, unable to hug their grandchildren or have any type of visitors. As a caregiver, how can you help an elderly loved one cope when you’re not able to see them face-to-face?
The most important thing to remember is to stay in touch. Although you may be balancing working from home and taking care of your children, take a few minutes each day to call or video chat with your loved one. If you have siblings or other family members, you can create a schedule to make sure someone is checking in every day, and be sure to keep each other informed of any updates (prescription refills, new health concerns, etc.) Be sure to check on their needs, such as:
- Do they have all of their prescriptions filled?
- Do they have enough food/meals?
- Is everything functioning in their home?
- How are they feeling, physically and mentally?
Seniors living alone at home can be especially susceptible to feelings of loneliness – starting a project together can give your loved one a sense of purpose. If you are able to connect through video chat, try organizing family photos together or cooking a family recipe with their help. If your loved one lives at home and close to you, try to drive by a few times a week to drop off a meal on their doorstep or simply wave to them through a window.
It’s also important for caregivers to take care of themselves. You may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or helpless as you try to care for your loved one in this time of uncertainty. Take time to take care of your physical and mental health, and reach out to your spouse, a sibling, or a close friend if you need help with your caregiving tasks.
If health concerns arise, telehealth appointments are available for all PHN medical, behavioral, and specialty services. We are here to continue to meet your healthcare needs.