How can we care for our elderly without putting them at risk? While we should continue to follow all the guidelines issued by the Government and Ministry of Health, there are also a few tips below that can help in the day-to-day care of your older and otherwise more vulnerable loved ones.
Have a plan
The most important step that you can take for yourself and your loved one is to have a plan in the event that you or they contract the virus and need to self-isolate. This plan should ensure that if you are unable to care for your elderly parent or grandparent, friend or neighbour, that there is someone else who can be on hand to take your place and provide support as needed. Now is the time to make contact with friends and neighbours if you don’t have a wide circle of relatives to call upon, just in case.
Check in daily
Perhaps one of the most crucial things we can do to help our loved ones through this trying time is to check in with them every day to keep their focus and give something to look forward to, no matter how small it may seem to you. Younger family members could start a roster ensuring daily calls or video calls with their elderly loved one to ensure they feel connected, cared for and offer the opportunity for them to reach out for any help or assistance that they may need.
Remember some of our older generation may not be connected to the online world so ensuring there is a clear line of communication is essential to maintain a connection.
Give them purpose
For some of our older family members, the trip to the supermarket might provide them with a sense of accomplishment so you want to be careful that by eliminating chances of exposure to the virus you’re not taking away their reason to get up in the morning.
Some things they can consider doing;
– Exchanging letters with younger family members
– Gardening – significantly reduces depression
– Writing – a book or a short story, or maybe now is the time to pen that memoir they keep talking about doing but never seem to get round to!
– Passing on a skill (via video call or the phone) or learning a new skill
By creating a daily task for your elderly loved one, you’re not only helping to reduce negative feelings such as depression, but many studies have proven that seniors with a sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia as well as reducing their stress levels which can lead to dangerous inflammation.
Help them stay active
Physical fitness is always important, particularly as we get older. If we’re not able to leave our homes to join in on our regular activity, we need to ensure that our physical wellbeing is not compromised. We recommend helping your older family members with a daily activity plan that keeps them moving within their homes or gardens.
Older residents who exercise often tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of many diseases. It also enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance. These are important things to consider during a time in which it will become difficult for them to maintain mobility by doing outside walks and their regular active group or individual activities.
What if I can’t do any of the above?
At Senior Help we are here to provide companionship and support for those most in need. You never need to be alone or not know where to turn.
To find out more how we can assist with companionship, and a range of other services, request a callback or phone us today to learn more.