The Coronavirus pandemic has compelled us to change the way we conduct our daily lives.  The term “social distancing” describes a way to protect ourselves from contracting the virus.  Social distancing is a great way to keep us safe and healthy, but how does it affect our mental health?  The elderly community is a population that is at risk for the virus and safety is vital.  However, with restricted activities and less socialization than they are used to, the effect can be a feeling of isolation.

It is important for individuals in the elderly age category to have and maintain a support system.  Family and friends can be important members of an elderly individual’s support system.  If you have an elderly family member or friend, there are still things you can do to connect with them, even while being socially distant.

  • Make a date for a virtual visit: Set up a Zoom or FaceTime call, even a regular phone call will help them to feel more connected
  • Send mail: Writing a letter, sending flowers, or putting together a care package will let them know you are thinking of them
  • Be mindful of mental health: Encourage them to think positively and do activities that will be relaxing
  • Keep news to a minimum: Encourage them to limit themselves to one or two news programs per day, in order to avoid getting overwhelmed
  • Talk about happy memories: This will remind them of times when things were better.  It will give them hope and comfort about the future.
  • Help out: Let them know that they can always call you if they need anything, or even just to talk

It is important to make sure that the elderly remain safe and healthy physically.  However, it is just as important to make sure that they also remain safe and healthy mentally.  We can all help our elderly family members or friends to cope with the isolation encountered due to this pandemic while still keeping them safe.