COPING WITH AGING PARENTS DURING COVID-19
MITIGATING FEAR AND LONELINESS
In many cases, our mental health is rooted in stability derived from a routine. Within this routine are the social interactions we take for granted, the projects we derive fulfillment from, and life’s milestones that we can count on looking forward to. With the world in crisis mode, much of this routine has gone by the wayside. Stress and anxiety associated with isolation and the unknown can quickly take over our lives and trigger severe mental health conditions. However, new businesses such as WellQor specialize in the virtual treatment of these needs.
is your loved
Physical isolation has become commonplace. To protect the physical health of our senior loved ones, many of us have foregone our regular visits, dinner dates, and social activities with Grandma or Grandpa. In this case, it is essential to ensure that our loved ones are not lonely. While being physically isolated from friends and family, seniors need to maintain a sense of connection throughout the process. They need to know that they have someone to reach out to avoid a sense of helplessness. Well established research, and my own experience in the field, has shown that loneliness is associated with a string of physical and mental health issues commonly faced by loved ones. Depression, anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline are just a few conditions often affecting seniors that can be triggered by the distressing feeling of loneliness.
While we wait for physical interaction to be safe, we can ensure that our senior loved ones are socially connected in other ways. The easiest and most common way to join connect now is via Facetime, Zoom, or other video conferencing applications. Most of them are easy to use, and this can be an excellent way to reinstate a sense of normalcy. If these calls are scheduled, it can help loved ones get into a routine, and give them something to look forward to and prepare for. If you have a regular tradition like watching a movie together on Sundays, that can be done over video calls, pausing periodically to discuss the show or movie. You can also send gifts through the mail, and greater creativity is always valued. However, the critical part of all of this is ensuring your loved ones feel like they have a network to fall back on.
Staying connected with your loved one will also help you identify any issues that might arise. If you feel worried that your loved one might be suffering as a result of fear, anxiety, and social isolation, here are some warning signs you need to look out for:
Identifying the Signs
These warning signs can be identified with thorough communication. Don’t lecture your loved one, but be sure to ask prompting questions that can give you peace of mind. Ask them how they’ve slept, who they’ve spoken to recently, and how they’re feeling. This knowledge will help you and your loved one gauge their mental health. If you feel concerned, it’s always a good idea to work with a mental health professional. Specialists in senior behavioral health, such as those at WellQor, can be crucial in ensuring the lasting psychological and emotional health of older adults.
Loved Ones can FEEL SUPPORTED IN THIS TIME
Despite these unprecedented times, your support and care of your loved one can still be as strong as ever, perhaps just a little differently. We want to support you as you creatively care. Connect with us for more information, resources and more.
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