The current social distancing requirements for managing the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially challenging for seniors.
As a result of the social distancing, it’s not unusual for some seniors in long-term care to feel anxious or depressed. Last time on our blog, we talked about anxiety.
Today, we’d like to talk about depression and how you can help to prevent or offset depression in any seniors that you know, such as any that are living in our senior retirement community.
Write it Down
Encourage seniors to write down their thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. Even spending just a few minutes per day is a good thing.
Writing down feelings or “journaling” can have a very positive and therapeutic effect for everyone. If a senior doesn’t feel like they have good dexterity for writing, they can dictate—to you, for example.
There are also many software programs that will convert voice to text. Not only is it good for the senior to write things down, but later on, you might have a very interesting document that could be turned into a book or a scrapbook.
Stay in Touch
Even if you can’t be physically close to your family member, you can still talk to them. Talk to them a lot and at regular intervals that they can count on.
For example, every morning, or every evening at a certain time. Use the phone or use any one of many video conferencing tools. If your senior family member is not very computer savvy, in our retirement communities, there are many people available to help with this.
Encourage Seniors to Meditate
Meditation is recommended as a tool for coping with both anxiety and depression. And it turns out the anxiety and depression are closely related. Something that helps one likely also helps the other.
Mindfulness meditation is very easy to learn and there are lots of simple YouTube videos that can teach you how to do it. You, in turn, can teach your mother or father or grandfather.
Encourage Good Computer Skills
If possible, help your senior family members to become more comfortable with their computer or smartphone or tablet. With better computer skills, the world is their oyster, and many activities are possible with computer access.
For example, with video conferencing, a senior could play cards with others. The trick to staving off depression is to stay connected. Staying connected is more challenging right now, but it’s not impossible.
Be creative and find ways to ignite that spark of interest in your senior family members to keep them interacting with others. While some of our senior classes have had to be cancelled, we are still making a great effort to enrich the lives of the seniors in our Vernon community. And you can make a big difference, too.
The Hamlets at Vernon is an assisted-living and long-term care community in Vernon, BC, Canada. Designed to take the worry out of senior retirement home living and following the tenets of Christianity, The Hamlets at Vernon offers compassionate care in a beautiful environment.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our community, please call us at (236) 426-1488.