Top 10 Ways To Help The Elderly During A Pandemic

By Elena Cortesi on March 23 2020 in How to

Elderly people are most at risk during a pandemic. Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash
Elderly people are most at risk during a pandemic. Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash
  • There is a higher death toll of COVID-19 victims who are over the age of 65
  • People 65 and over are at a higher risk for experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19
  • Hand washing is still deemed the first act of defence against COVID-19

Living through a pandemic, like COVID-19, is challenging for everyone. What we need to remember is that our actions have a direct effect on our lives and the lives of others. This is a time to take care of ourselves but also to help one another. The elderly are one of the groups of people who are at a higher risk of contracting a virus like COVID-19 because their immune systems are not as strong. If they do contract the virus, their ability to fight the effects and recover are also higher. It is our social responsibility to help where and how we can to make sure to keep them safe.

10. Check In Often

Check in on your grandparents to make sure they are OK, but don't visit in person if you are sick.

Whether it be a neighbor, a friend or a family member, check in often to see how they are holding up. The levels of stress and anxiety are heightened for everyone during a crisis situation, like a pandemic. Making sure the elderly are looked after is something that may take a few minutes of your time, but it is definitely time well spent and can make a practical and emotional difference for them.

9. Teach Them How to Use Video Chats

New technology can be difficult for seniors. Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

Being from a different generation, technology is sometimes a foreign thing for the elderly. However, it is very possible that they have a computer, tablet or Smartphone in their home. Take the time to show them how to make a video call to their friends and loved ones so they can stay connected and feel like they have a full house even if alone.

8. Make Arrangements to Have Essentials Brought to Them

Arrange to have groceries delivered to your elderly relatives. Photo by leonie wise on Unsplash

Many elderly have their set routines to grocery shop, pay their bills at the bank or run their errands themselves. During a pandemic, it is very important that everyone self-isolates and exercises social distancing. Offer to pick up some groceries, check their mail or run a quick errand for them to keep them at home and safe. If you cannot do it yourself, offer to help make arrangements for them. This seemingly small gesture will be a huge help and will most definitely be greatly appreciated.

7. Keep Them Informed

Make sure your elders are aware of the pandemic, but do not cause a panic. Photo by Elien Dumon on Unsplash

Without sending anyone into panic mode, make sure you keep the elderly abreast of what is happening during the pandemic. Keep your information factual, simple and concise. Remember your audience so do not sensationalize the information or minimize it either. Just remember that you want to keep everyone calm. Keeping the elderly in the loop reassures them that they are a vital part of the community.

6. Spend Some Time Reminiscing

Keep your conversations light and reminisce. Photo by Bertin Paquin on Unsplash

It is important to make sure that conversations are not always about the current state of the world or about how difficult and challenging things are during a pandemic. Spend some time with your elderly loved ones in revisiting great memories, going through old photo albums, and simply speaking about some great experiences and fond memories. Keeping it light is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered.

5. Cancel Unnecessary Appointments

Do not overload the hospital system. Photo by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

During a pandemic like the one we are currently amidst with COVID-19, it is very necessary to prioritize your time and efforts. Help your elderly family and friends to do the same. If there is an indispensable appointment that is coming up, medical or otherwise, you can help them assess the sense of urgency. If you collectively decide that the appointment can wait, then reschedule it or cancel it. Doctors and hospitals alike are saturated and overwhelmed with patients that are directly affected by the virus so routine appointments can certainly be put off.

4. Take Their Dog for a Walk

Offer to take their dog for a walk, but practice social distancing.

Pandemics bring on social distancing requirements and self-isolation. In the case of the elderly, the less exposure and interactions they have to other people, the better and safer they will be. Pop in once or twice a day to make sure their furry buddies are well taken care of. Make sure pets are fed, hydrated and take them out for a walk so that there is one less thing to worry about.

3. Stay for Dinner

You can cook for the elderly and deliver food to them. Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

The elderly typically love to cook and take care of their children and grandchildren. Having a meal with the whole family may be difficult during quarantines and situations of self-isolation. Having said that, if you are able to check in on your elderly friends and family, let them know you will be staying and breaking bread with them. It will definitely put a smile on their faces.

2. Play a Game of Cards

Playing cards with relatives is a fun way to keep busy.

A small gesture that will make their day would be when you check in on your elderly family member, bring a deck of cards with you. A friendly game of Crazy Eights, Go Fish or whatever else you commonly play, can serve as a distraction and pleasant hour for everyone.

1. Simply Remind Them That They Can Count on You

Remind your elderly relatives that you will be there for them. Photo by Jixiao Huang on Unsplash

Sometimes the best way to help the elderly during a time of crisis like the one we find ourselves in now with the COVID-19 pandemic is to simply let them know that you are there for them. Having someone to count on, who they can turn to for help, comfort and provide them with company, means the world to them. It's the small stuff that makes the biggest difference so let us continue to do our part for those who need us most.

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