A year into the pandemic and it’s natural to feel tired of the restrictions that COVID-19 has created. While it’s been scientifically proven that face coverings, quarantine, social distancing, and frequent handwashing all play critical roles in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the desire to have life resume to some sense of normalcy is a powerful one. For seniors, who have needed to be especially vigilant during the pandemic due to a higher risk for complications from COVID-19, the desire to have life back to normal is especially strong.
Because of the pandemic, older adults have been advised to scale back or eliminate in-person activities, forcing dramatic changes in day-to-day routines and a stop to many of the social activities that they once enjoyed. Visits with friends and family, travel, weekly card games or monthly book club, even something as simple as window shopping or going to a museum have been curbed due to the pandemic. For those activities that have continued, safety measures have moved them to virtual or in person at a distance, which isn’t quite the same.
Quarantine or pandemic fatigue in seniors is not uncommon and is a direct result of the exhaustion associated with the restrictive lifestyle that’s been implemented in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect people. Symptoms of pandemic fatigue include:
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Feeling irritable, anxious, sad or tense
- A decrease in or loss of motivation and a reduction in productivity
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Social isolation
- And more
At American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care, we recognize that pandemic fatigue can manifest differently in each person. To help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness in seniors, and to help maintain physical and mental health and wellness, we recommend the following tips:
Set and maintain a routine. When each day is virtually identical to the last, it can be challenging to stick to a routine. Make it a point to create a daily schedule with a specific time for waking, eating, participating in enjoyable activities, and sleeping. In doing so, it will be harder for the senior to spend the day sedentary.
Exercise daily. Daily exercise benefits both physical and mental health. Take advantage of our nearly perfect weather and enjoy a daily walk outside each morning. Or drive to a favorite park and meet a friend for a socially-distanced walk. Another great way to get some exercise and soak up vitamin D is to work in the garden, tending to flowers or vegetables.
Eat regular, nutritious meals. With so much time at home, it’s easy to fall into the habit of snacking or eating unhealthy foods. Prepare well-balanced, regular meals and snacks that include protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy grains.
Stay connected with family and friends. While quarantine may require seniors to remain socially distant, they do not need to be socially isolated. Maintain connections with family and friends through phone calls, letter writing, social media and video conferencing apps. Nearly everyone is struggling with the disruption the pandemic has caused. Having close family and friends with whom you can share your frustrations and longing for a return to normalcy is important.
Engage in prayer, meditation, or mindfulness. The non-stop information about the pandemic can be stressful and unsettling. Setting aside time each day in which to turn off the news, computer and other outside distractions is important. Use the time to relax and focus on the importance of maintaining physical and mental health and overall wellness.
Take up a hobby. Use the time at home to focus on picking up a skill or hobby that has fallen by the wayside, or learning something new. Access one of the many free apps to learn a new language or instrument, write down your memories about childhood or young adulthood, organize family photos, learn photography, investigate a topic or period in history that is interesting to you. The possibilities are endless.
Another great option to help seniors overcome pandemic fatigue, while still keeping safety top of mind, is to partner with the experienced referred care providers from American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care. As the trusted facilitator of in-home care services throughout Florida, we’ve been helping seniors lead active, engaged and purposeful lives since 1992.
Let us provide a senior you love with companionship to help reduce isolation and loneliness, and the personal care assistance needed to maintain independence. We offer access to a wide variety of services which can be customized to meet the unique needs of your loved one, such as:
- Engaging activities, such as games, puzzles, exercise, hobbies/interests, etc.
- Friendly companionship and conversation
- Light housekeeping and laundry services
- Personal care assistance, such as bathing, dressing and help using the bathroom
- Preparing nutritious meals and cleaning up afterward
- Transportation to appointments and social outings
- Specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions
- And much more
For more information about the ways in which our family of brands can help a senior you love, reach out to the office nearest you for more information:
Contact us today to learn more about how an experienced referred care provider can help a senior you love live life to the fullest.
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661