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Caring for the Health and Emotional Wellbeing of Seniors During the Pandemic

Update Date: May 18, 2020 10:15 PM EDT
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Caring for the Health and Emotional Wellbeing of Seniors During the Pandemic
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Senior citizens are at the top of the list of people at risk for contracting and unfortunately, passing away from the coronavirus. This is in great part due to their weaker immune systems and common existing health problems associated with aging. As such, it has been highly recommended that seniors do their best to remain at home to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus. 

Not only have seniors been asked to shelter in place, but it is also advised that their loved ones practice social distancing from the elderly to avoid transmitting the coronavirus. These recommendations by government officials, though necessary, have isolated seniors from their loved ones leaving many of them to try and fend for themselves. 

If you happen to be an adult child with elderly parents or a relative who looks after a senior, you may be wondering how you can continue to be there for your aging loved ones from afar. Continue reading for some advice. 

Check-in Daily 

Being isolated from friends and family can have an adverse effect on the emotional well-being of seniors. You can reduce their feelings of loneliness and despair by checking in on them daily. There are many mediums you can use to make this possible without violating social distancing regulations and stay at home orders. You can pick up the phone and talk to them, video chat using the phone, download video conferencing software to talk via the internet, send them an email, or chat via social media. Spending just a few minutes each day socializing with your aging loved one can make a world of difference in their emotional health. 

Have Prescriptions Delivered

For seniors who have certain health conditions, the need to take medication regularly is imperative. However, since they're at home during the coronavirus pandemic, getting to the pharmacies to get the prescriptions they need is taking a huge risk. You can make matters easier by going to their pharmacy's website and setting up automatic prescription deliveries. This service is often free or very affordable. If they are struggling to pay for these prescriptions, you can check to see if they qualify for low-income subsidies through medicare to make them more affordable. 

Schedule Virtual Doctor's Visits

Senior citizens are required to visit the doctor a lot more to maintain their health and/or treat certain health conditions. With many doctors' offices and hospitals focusing all of their energy and resources on fighting the coronavirus, in-person visits aren't ideal. To ensure that your loved one continues to get the medical treatment they need to remain healthy, you can schedule virtual visits. Many primary care physicians and medical specialists are offering virtual office hours where they see their patients remotely. Though you may need to talk them through how to utilize the technology to keep these appointments, once everything is set-up, they can reach out to their doctors whenever there is a need. 

Sign Them Up for Meal Delivery Services

Taking a trip to the grocery store or their favorite restaurant is a serious risk to an elderly person's health during the pandemic. However, they also require a well-balanced diet with key vitamins, nutrients, and minerals every day. You can both keep your family member from going out and get them the food they need by enrolling them in local programs for meal delivery. There are programs for seniors offered by government and private agencies that will deliver hot meals to their door every day. Start by checking your state's website for more information or doing an online search to learn more. 

Know When to Get Help

When talking to your aging relatives on a daily basis, be sure to pay attention to any causes for concern. Ask them how they're feeling, if they've been experiencing any complications, or if there is anything they need you to do to make their day go better. If talking via video chat, pay attention to things like a change in their health or appearance. If you notice something is off, contact a doctor or therapist to find out the next best steps to get them the assistance they need. 

Staying at home and practicing social distancing, although difficult to adjust to, is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. This is especially true for senior citizens. Whether you're an adult child or other relative who is concerned about an elderly family member during these crazy times, take comfort in knowing that there are ways you can safeguard their physical and emotional wellbeing. 

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