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Caring for Seniors Mental Health and Well-being

Community news | Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Contact: Jamie Leszczynski

(Oswego, NY – March 31, 2020) The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed our daily lives more than anyone could expect. This is especially the case for the seniors in our community. Social distancing may be annoying to the young and healthy but for seniors it is extremely isolating.

Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming however for older people and people with chronic diseases it can be devastating.

What can seniors do to support their well-being?

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Constant information on the pandemic can be distressing.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or mediate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities and hobbies you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation and loneliness. To help older adults feel involved, purposeful and less lonely during the pandemic:

  • Show them how to video chat with others using smartphones, laptops or tablets.
  • Use apps on these devices to provide captions for adults with hearing challenges.
  • Encourage friends and family outside of your household to telephone, write notes or send cards to lift your loved one’s spirits.
  • Offer to help with their basic needs when possible such as do their shopping.
  • Give them ideas on how to get through days and nights when they might be more alone than usual.
  • Monitor them for increased symptoms or a change in their behaviors.

If stress is getting in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row, call your healthcare provider. If you are having negative or suicidal thoughts or do not have a healthcare provider, please reach out to the Suicide Crisis Number at 1-800-273-8255 or the Mobile Crisis Hotline at 315-251-0800.