(Family Features) For many seniors, being home alone during the COVID-19 pandemic means being lonely.
To help older adults stay as socially connected as possible during the pandemic, Capital Caring Health, the mid-Atlantic’s largest nonprofit provider of hospice and at-home-care services, offers a wide range of ideas and services, including these eight tips for improving the “home alone” experience:
- Stay connected. Try to spend at least 15 minutes of your day connecting with someone, whether it is a family member, friend or neighbor, via telephone, text or email, especially if you are a senior living alone.
- Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet including fruit and vegetables can help maintain your health, energy and outlook. Make sure family and friends know if you need help with grocery shopping or healthy meal preparation. Or consider a meal delivery service.
- Get your ZZZs. While worry about COVID-19 and other concerns may keep you awake, you’ll improve your chances of quality sleep by not eating or drinking caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is dark and place your phone out of reach.
- Exercise and get some fresh air. Exercising can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Depending on your ability, try seated exercise or yoga, or take a walk or bike ride – while maintaining social distancing requirements. Research shows that spending time outdoors and getting some sun are closely linked with happiness.
- Be mindful. A mind-body practice such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation can help you regain a sense of calm. For example, UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center offers pre-recorded Guided Meditation audio sessions.
- Seek the medical care and help you need. Don’t let fear of COVID-19 keep you from getting regular medical care. A provider like Capital Caring Health can typically ensure you get necessary medical care and social support services without leaving your home through such programs as Primary Care at Home, Stay-at-Home Services, advanced illness/palliative and hospice care.
- Don’t grieve alone. Those grieving the loss of a loved one may be especially affected by COVID-19 if they are unable to say goodbye in person or attend a memorial with others. Counseling services and grief support are available by phone or via video conferencing, at no cost, for anyone who needs them.
- Remember: We’re all in this together. You may be alone in your house and unable to connect in your usual ways, but millions of people are sharing the same experience. As a community, and with help from community-based resources like Capital Caring Health, there are ways to remain safe, engaged and calm.
Find more information at capitalcaring.org or call the 24-hour care line at 1-800-869-2136.
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