As the pandemic’s end remains uncertain, most senior citizens are being forced to stay at home and limit contact with others to protect their health and safety. While it is certainly in the best interest of their physical wellness, feeling locked indoors and away from their routine can significantly impact a senior’s mental and emotional health. Here are some tips to help elderly adults stay happy at home.
Maintain a routine
One of the most difficult aspects of having to stay indoors for many seniors is the change in routine and structure. Help them create a routine in their new normal to feel some sense of comfort and organization.
Help them schedule out their mealtimes, encourage them to stick to a strict bedtime and wake-up time, and plan a regular amount of time dedicated daily to exercise or a hobby. This will help them feel some sense of normalcy and purpose every day and will help them better adjust to and avoid the stressors of staying inside.
Create a comfortable environment
If your loved one will be spending most of their day inside their home, it’s important that they’re in a comfortable environment where they are able to relax.
You can safely furnish their home with new essentials from online retailers that will be delivered contactless to your door. You can purchase everything from cozy throw pillows to new sofas and couches online to help them get comfortable in their living space and feel refreshed without having to worry about the risks of shopping in-person.
You can also consider hanging photos of family and friends, as well as artwork from grandchildren to help give them a sense of community in their surroundings. While your time with each other may be limited, the more you can keep them connected and involved with what’s going on, the better off they will be! Putting in the extra effort to help them build a cozy home can make it easier for them to adjust to staying indoors. It can also show your love for them and attention to their needs.
Find satisfying alternatives to regular activities
While they may not be able to attend their normal social events or do certain activities that they typically enjoy, it’s important that seniors are still able to spend their time doing something that brings them joy. And, if you get creative, there are likely plenty of options available to do so!
You can help them find upcoming live streams of academic lectures, musical acts, or author talks, or create a list of safe outdoor activities for them, such as walking, gardening and cycling. Having an event or activity to look forward to can bring great joy to older adults when they cannot attend their regular interests.
Schedule time with loved ones
Likely the most difficult aspect of the pandemic for seniors has been the inability to spend time with their loved ones due to health risks. However, physical distancing doesn’t need to mean losing contact with others.
If your loved one is unable to see family and friends face-to-face, or even through a window, you can help them set up a Zoom account so they can meet with loved ones virtually. Or, if they are uncomfortable using an online video service, you could plan a group phone call. Being able to maintain some emotional bonds with loved ones will help seniors adjust to this new normal faster and continue to feel connected socially.
Caring for an elderly loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not an easy task; it can be frightening and emotionally exhausting. But anything you do to make their time at home more comfortable and enjoyable will help alleviate some of the stress and frustration they may be feeling.
If you do not have family support to help you, we can. Learn more about FirstLight Home Care’s Respite Care services.