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How Can I Help the Seniors in my Life through this Pandemic?

April 27, 2020

Many Canadians have older adults in their life that find themselves now in a much higher risk category than ever before.  The Chief Medical Officer is advising that anyone over 70 not go out at all which brings with it some very obvious challenges as well as some more hidden issues.

We live in a society of independent seniors!  Fitness classes for the aging population abound, many are living either on their own or in independent living retirement residences well into their 90s due to improved health care and medications and they are now finding their independence is stripped in order to avoid contracting the potentially deadly COVID-19 Virus.

This situation finds many of us looking at how we can help keep our loved ones healthy and safe.  Anything you can do to keep your parent or grandparent home and away from anything in the outside environment is key.  Whether this is setting up grocery delivery online or picking up items on their behalf and dropping them off, offering help with groceries and necessities is key.  The less need they can find to go out, the less they will!

Social isolation is a big issue associated with this pandemic.  For many younger people technology is the only thing keeping us all sane.  Basic texting and FaceTime calls right through to big group Zoom parties and the use of apps like Houseparty, yet young people are still craving social interaction.  The older generations are often less equipped technologically, whether that be with hardware like iPads and computers and smart phones or with the software comforts and ability to use apps designed for connectivity.  Finding a way to get the technology, loaded with the necessary apps in the hands of your loved one can be a huge game changer for everyone!  It allows them to see their loved ones, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, but it also allows the younger generation the peace of mind that comes with seeing your loved one face to face.

If you are responsible for taking your loved one to an appointment be extra cautious about your contact with others, wear a mask in their presence and try to provide a mask for them to wear at the appointment as well.  The biggest benefit to mask wearing is protecting others and is a great way to maintain as much distance as possible should you need to be with that person.

One of the things many people are not talking about is how much this isolation is affecting seniors in a physical capacity.  The once vibrant senior who was visiting with friends, going to fitness, popping out to the bank or store, are no longer doing those things and find themselves much more sedentary.  This can lead to balance issues, increase lack of desire to do more, and therefore also lead to mental decline.  Finding ways to engage the seniors in your life in a fitness class online, or getting moving around the house, busying with a new hobby or lighting the spark in an old hobby again can prove to be very meaningful and keep both the mind and body of  your loved one alive and well.

Let’s come together to support our most vulnerable populations.  The better we are at doing this now, the faster we can flatten the curve and move past this pandemic crisis we are living in.  Stay Healthy!

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