As we are now in our third nationwide lockdown many of us are feeling disheartened and discouraged. Once again we are asking the elderly and most vulnerable to isolate themselves for their own safety. This can have a negative effect on their mental health and wellbeing.
While we are all constantly on edge worrying about what the future may hold with this new easier contracted strain of the Virus may bring. It can be easy to forget about taking care of our own mental health or indeed, the mental health of those we care for.
For the vast majority, there is a strong feeling of anxiety with the country going in and out of lockdown. Many feel helpless with a lack of control and security over their own lives.
What The Elderly Are Being Asked To Do:
As COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and can infect anyone at any age, there are still those more vulnerable. Those aged 60+ are more likely to suffer more severe symptoms. This is why once again the government is asking the elderly to:
- Physically distance themselves from others (from friends and family if necessary)
- Restrict their movements
Doing so can lead to increased isolation and loneliness. While family and friends are keeping their distance to keep the elderly safe, it doesn’t stop them from missing physical contact and it is having a negative effect on their mental health.
Since the virus hit Ireland in March when we had our first lockdown, Alone (a charity that supports elderly people) has received over 30,000 calls for support. This support could just be a chat over the phone where questions are asked, worries are settled, etc.
COVID-19 Lockdown Effects on the Mental Health of the Elderly:
- Feeling Anxious
- Low Self Esteem
- Increased Stress
- Sleeping Problems
How You Can Help Improve The Mental Health of the Elderly:
Gather Information Together:
Get the contact details of family members, friends, and services together and have them keep them close by. This will make it easier for your loved ones to reach out should they wish or need to.
Promote a Healthy Diet:
If you are shopping for over 60+ friends or relatives (or you bring them shopping). Try to promote healthier eating habits. Make sure they have plenty of fluids easy to reach like bottles of water. Try and stock the fridge with lots of fruit and vegetables to help them strengthen their immune system.
Encourage Them To Keep Active:
This can depend on how mobile they are and what they are able to do. Small movements and stretches can help when it comes to bettering their mood.
Keep In Contact:
Whether it’s to share some news, ask them how their day went, or simply to have a chat above nothing in particular. Regular contact will stop them from feeling alone and isolated.
Routine, Routine, Routine:
Helping them create a routine will help them feel more in control of their lives and give them a better level of security.
Dive Into Technology:
During our first lockdown, many of the elderly missed out on the joys of technology and how it can make us all feel a little more connected. If you can (at a safe distance or over the phone) share how best to use the internet and technology so that they can be apart of the conversation.
My brother has recently found a knitting pattern forum that he shares with my Nan so that she can find new styles to knit and she loves to show us once she is done. Especially now that she kind of understands WhatsApp.
Get Into A Hobby Together:
This is a great idea to help keep the mind and body active (dependent on what you chose to do). You can keep in contact with each other over your progress together.
Never be afraid to ask for help or to seek support from local services – they will always have someone on hand to help in circumstances such as these.
For the elderly that find it difficult to operate everyday items in the home – why not make things a little easier with our Uccello Kettle?