Even though the majority of states have lifted their “shelter-in-place” orders, the risk for seniors contracting the virus still remains high. So, for this reason, for their safety, older adults are remaining at home unless it’s absolutely necessary for them to venture out. Unfortunately, this means that many seniors aren’t able to do the activities and be connected like they were before COVID-19. The pandemic has created unique challenges for family members to stay in touch with their elderly loved ones, but it’s critical for their emotional and physical well-being that you find a way to stay connected. Here are a few ways to help your elder loved ones stay active and connected during COVID-19.
Engaging with Hobbies
In these current times, it’s difficult for seniors to get more of the things that they enjoy doing. An easy way to keep them well-stocked on supplies as well as keep them active is by dropping offing supplies for their hobby. For instance, if your senior loved one enjoys crocheting or knitting, many don’t have the funds to stay well-stocked and will buy only the amounts of yarn needed for a single project, so dropping off a few skeins of yarn will not only allow them to create, but it will save them money as well. To make this even more enjoyable and to stay connected with them considering joining them on Zoom, FaceTime or Skype to do a project with them.
Many families spend a day or two each week having a meal with their senior loved one, but the pandemic has prevented a lot of seniors from leaving their home or allowing guests in, which means they are now cooking and eating alone. To help keep them active and connected, consider helping them plan a menu each week that includes at least one meal that is similar to the one you’ll prepare for your family. Have the groceries delivered and phone or FaceTime/Skype when it’s time to prepare the meal so you can cook together and enjoy the meal together. This will help to provide companionship, which also helps to improve their appetite, while keeping them active and connected.
Watch Television Together
Seniors typically have a favorite television program that they watch routinely. Make arrangements to telephone them just before their favorite program comes on and then “watch” it together. Many programs, such as game shows are a great way to connect, because you can see who gets the right answer first. If your elderly loved one has access to Netflix, plan a movie night and either FaceTime or Skype them while you watch a movie together.
It’s more important than ever to encourage your senior loved ones to keep moving and stay active. Whether it’s walking around their home or going out for short walks, it’s important for maintaining balance and preventing falls for them to prevent stiffening of their muscles. Encourage your loved one to practice social distancing, yet get outdoors whenever possible. if they have a regular caregiver, ask the caregiver to assist them with getting up, moving around and going outdoors when possible.