With the spread of the coronavirus, we are all taking preventative measures to stay safe. And that should include looking out for our elderly population of parents, family members and neighbors. While we have good intentions to stay away from our parents or grandparents, the elderly need us to help them through long days of staying inside their homes. Feeling isolate can cause lonlieness, anxiety and depression. Precautions must be taken however to help. As the elderly age, their immune system weakens so they are at a higher risk to fight off the virus. And now that we've been educated on the coronavirus symptoms, we have learned that not all people show symptoms. As a result, we have to find alternative ways to check on the elderly, help them out, and encourage their positivity that we will all get through this together.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can check on the elderly:
1) Schedule ahead for a weekly visit with a neighbor so they know when to expect you. Remember to maintain at least 6 feet apart at a minimum for everyone's safety. The neighbor could stay inside by an open window, or the front porch so you may safely have a discussion.
2) If there is a birthday or anniversary to celebrate for an elderly person, consider calling on the neighbors or friends for a caravan of people with balloons, smiles and signs to let them know you're thinking about them. Each vehicle would slowly approach the home, stop for say, 20 seconds in front of their home while you wave and shout out well wishes. Honk your horn or play a favorite tune of theirs or sign happy birthday.
3) Get the family together for a facetime phone call or online celebration using Zoom or Facebook Live. This can help everyone feel connected, whether you are in the next neighborhood, town, or state. This pandemic has certainly changed how we interact with others, and maybe even after the restrictions from the virus ease, we will continue this new way of connecting with family and friends on a more consistent basis!
4) Use Skype streaming services to play a board game or even watch a movie together. Grandkids and grandparents alike enjoy these activities when they are together. Now with technology, there is an avenue to continue relationships as you would normally.
5) Schools in our community have reached out to students to create colorful cards or letters for those livins in assisted living communities. I read a Facebook post last night of a teenager who delivered 20 homemade cards where her grandmother resides in an assisted living community. Homemade cards or a baked treat could be shared with an elderly neighbor as well. They will not only be delighted to see you, but after the visit is over and everyone returns home, they will see the card or plant or enjoy the delicious treat you shared. This is surely likely to bring a smile to their face until your next visit!
6) While hosting social distance visits or Facetime calls with your elderly neighbors or family members, ask if they would like you to do their grocery shopping or or pick up prescriptions from their local pharmacy. Nextdoor is an app many of us use to share information and updates on community happenings and events. Consider sharing the app with your elderly neighbors. Explain itis a valuable resource to communicate with their local community. I have actually read a reply where a family offered to buy a few groceries in response to an elderly's request on the Nextdoor app!
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