How to Help Elderly Loved Ones During the Pandemic
Across the board, it’s been a difficult time for everyone. Most people have someone in their lives who may be older and/or more vulnerable during this pandemic. So whether you have elderly parents you want to help or a family member who lives on their own and may need some assistance, here are some simple ways to offer support, help and protection without adding to their risk of exposure. It’s at times like these where we must find ways to work together to create positive outcomes for everyone. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Meeting basic needs
Depending on your loved one’s situation, they may or may not be able to take care of their activities of daily living (ADL) and the related care to help them achieve it. ADL include:
With your loved one getting the continued help they need, it will be easier for them to focus on staying healthy and happy, despite the recent hardships. So while healthcare should continue to be a priority, you can go forward with caution and security.
Bolstering mental health
Aside from unemployment and a high hospitalization rate, one of the hardest things hitting the country right now is a toll on mental health. Social interaction is hard to come by, especially if one is elderly and confined to their home for their own physical safety. However, social distancing measures don’t necessarily mean that no social interaction can occur. Brainstorm how to utilize today’s modern technology to help your loved one feel connected and supported during a time of intense physical isolation.
Host a virtual family game night and do the work to troubleshoot your loved one’s technological questions and needs. Set them up with a reliable video chatting service to host book clubs, family meet-ups and more. Call them frequently to check in or just to chat and see how their day is going. Kill two birds with one stone by occupying your children with letter-writing to an elderly friend or family member. This consistent communication will help them feel like someone cares about them, even if they can’t see people in person.
If you’ve been strictly isolating, you may also find occasional, well-planned in-person visits to be helpful. Do what you can to keep their spirits up. According to Verywellmind.com, going as far as to limit the time they spend watching the news could even be helpful in more ways than one.
Harnessing community resources
Although many community services have been suspended or postponed during the pandemic, several helpful programs still are functioning. Volunteers can do many helpful things from running errands to providing help with any instrumental activities of daily living, such as dropping off groceries, helping to manage finances, or ensuring your loved one is taking their medication properly.
Meals on Wheels and other programs are still dedicated to providing nourishment to seniors and the homebound, even during this complicated time. For a more complete list of resources for the elderly living alone, check out this list at AgingInPlace.com.
Ensuring proper monitoring
Although many people feel like this would be the worst time to be in a doctor’s office, it’s actually vital to stay on top of chronic health conditions. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other issues don’t just stop causing problems because there’s a pandemic. Encourage your loved ones to see their doctor for such conditions, at the urging of experts like Hopkinsmedicine.org. Like any medical facility, it will be disinfected and spaced out to ensure patient safety.
If you’re struggling to cover the costs of home care or added expenses of caring for your loved ones during the pandemic, see if you qualify for a grant from Live Care, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people shoulder the financial burden of extended care. Learn more today at livecaregrants.org.