Apr 14, 2020
By: Jennifer Cox | The Suburban
Social isolating is taking its toll on all of us, but this couldn’t be truer of our senior population, many of whom are in residences and are on strict lockdown from visitors. Not only does the uncertainty of the coronavirus weigh heavily on their minds, but so, too, does the loneliness of the isolation.
Matt Del Vecchio is a certified professional consultant on aging and owner of Lianas Senior Transition Support. “Besides the inconveniences of self-isolation, there are increased levels of stress and anxiety amongst seniors,” he said.
Common questions might be: When will this end? Will I run out of money? Will my family be okay?
Del Vecchio recommended social engagement to help counter such worries and distract the person from some of the fears of the situation.
“This is very different than social distancing,” Del Vecchio was quick to point out. “Open the lines of communication through increased telephone and video calls. Reassure them during these challenging times. Make sure they are safe and comfortable and offer to get them essential supplies. Daily phone calls from family members, including grandchildren, should be encouraged. If they have the technology, set up video calls through FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.”
Consider writing a letter, which can be a great family activity, he suggested. Some families are even showing up at their loved one’s residence and organizing a visit where they can be seen through a ground floor window.
Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open with your aging family members. Let your family know that you can be an ear for their troubles.
“In your discussions, explain why you need to resort to these forms of communication and that it will be for a temporary basis only,” Del Vecchio explained. And keep in regular contact with the residence in which your senior family lives. “Communicate with management to ensure your loved one is being provided with proper care and support.”
There are other ways to help keep our aging family members calmer and more content during these tumultuous times.
“Take advantage of online delivery services for groceries and medication,” Del Vecchio suggested. “For those looking to proactively move into a senior’s residence and more importantly, for those who require immediate placement due to health reasons, reach out to agencies that specialize in assisting families with their transition into senior living communities. Their services are usually free as they are reimbursed by the private senior residences.”
Many of the residences are now providing virtual tours where you could see apartments and common areas as well.
Everyone is facing their own challenges with this pandemic. Knowing that the seniors in our community are really struggling with the situation makes it even more important to reach out and help them in any way we can. It begins with a simple phone call.