Helping Seniors Remain Connected During the Pandemic

By Thomas Dube posted 08-06-2020 03:01 PM

  

Elderly people remain one of the most vulnerable population groups when it comes to COVID-19. While they must be protected from unnecessary exposure, expecting them to stay cooped up at home alone is also not advisable. Loneliness and feeling cut off from everything will lead to depression and have a harmful impact on their overall well-being.

Technology is making this pandemic easier to get through while remaining in touch with loved ones. While seniors might need a bit of coaching to get going, there are many options for them to explore. Here are some examples:

Schedule regular video calls

One of the best ways to keep your elderly relatives connected with the family is by using your phone. Given the available technology, go beyond a traditional voice call and try video calling. It is hugely reassuring to seniors to see their family members, and if it is not possible to do so in person, a video does a fantastic job as a replacement.

Set a timetable of video calls spread between you and other relatives, so that older relatives receive at least one video call every day. Best of all, the family can video call no matter where they are in the world. As a final touch, schedule a weekly family video conference call using one of the available online options. Then everyone can have a virtual get together and share some quality time.

Streamline processes

Many elderly folks rely on weekly and monthly trips to the store and bank to socialize. This is no longer an option as it exposes them to potential coronavirus infection. 

Ensure that your elderly relatives’ bills are paid electronically so that they do not fall behind. A failure to pay premiums on insurance policies can have lasting ramifications. Also, ensure that their Medicare Advantage Plans 2021 are in place to know their medical care is covered. 

Show seniors how to shop online for groceries and other necessities. Then they will not feel that life as they know it has come to a complete standstill. Even attending online courses can be an excellent way for older citizens to broaden their horizons without unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

Encourage community involvement

While your elderly relatives might not be in a position to be physically involved in their community, there is still plenty they can do. For example, they can help to cook for neighbors in need, leaving food in containers on the porch for someone to collect and deliver. Their eyes and ears will also be helpful as a part of a community watch group to monitor any suspicious activities.

The elderly can volunteer to work for charities, non-profits, and faith-based organizations from home by making phone calls to share information or ask for donations. This is a useful task that can be done without leaving home, and it also helps to keep them connected with the outside world.

Staying in touch with friends

If your mom was part of a yoga group for retirees before the pandemic, there are ways to carry on even if she cannot leave home. Using video technology, the group can still work out together. The same applies to book clubs, support groups, and other group activities. 

By using social media, staying in touch is easy, although getting elderly relatives to use it might be your greatest challenge. Be patient when showing them some options for keeping in touch with their social group. Once their knowledge is beefed up, they can pass it on to their friends, thereby spreading the impact of your efforts.

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