While the cases of the coronavirus climb each and every day the CDC has recommended that people do not go out in the public in fear the virus will spread at a much higher velocity. It is important that individuals reduce time spent in public to help stop it from spreading. For those of you who are at risk do as much as you can to avoid people who are sick, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Social distancing” is the phrase that describes most of this, and it goes against what we typically advocate for our older patients. We promote the benefits of social engagement to our patients, understanding the poor health outcomes associated with social isolation. Now, with COVID-19, the times have changed. But along with the risk of coronavirus infection comes the risk of social isolation. How should older people balance these competing recommendations? During a time of social distancing, here are four ways for elders to stay socially connected.
- Learn new technology
There are many apps and websites you can use to stay connected like Facebook, Skype, Zoom, Snapchat & Instagram. You don’t have to be tech savvy to learn how to use these and they will help you stay connected. If you are struggling on how to set up the technology YouTube has a tutorial to show you how.
- Reach out to Family and Friends
Now is a good time to give your Aunt Mary a call and check up on y. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that communities create “buddy systems” to make sure vulnerable and hard-to-reach people stay connected, particularly to news about COVID-19. This can be done through lots of different channels, like your church, social group or neighborhood app.
- Get into an online excessive or healthy recipe group
Having a group of people that are connected socially that support and encourage you is vital when stuck at home all day.
- Stick to a schedule or routine
By having a routine this will help eliminate the feeling of social isolation because you have a plan and know what is happening next. This can also contribute to a sense of normalcy and keep you looking towards the future.
- Connect with yourself
Being at home is a great time for you to connect with your inner self. This could be meditation, yoga, prayer, reading a book or doing a puzzle.
Social distancing does not mean social isolation. There are a lot of challenges that come with coping as a globe with the coronavirus outbreak, but it should not cause anyone to feel alone.