Social isolation is always a concern when it comes to senior citizens, but during a time of health crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory social isolation adds additional problems. While catching the virus can be harmful to an older adult’s physical health, social isolation and quarantine for those who need in-home senior care can be harmful to a senior’s mental health.
These three tips can help you reach out to seniors while both they and you practice mandatory social isolation.
Contact Socially Isolated Senior Citizens Daily by Phone or Computer
There’s so much technology today that makes keeping in contact with the elderly in social isolation easy. For those seniors who continue to use a landline phone or a basic mobile as their only form of communication, the ring of that phone will be music to their ears. Call daily, or perhaps more than once a day.
For seniors who have a smart mobile phone, a tablet or a computer, the options for communication open up. Telephone calls are important, but video chats during social isolation can go even further to make an older person feel less alone. A few texts throughout the day, perhaps with a picture of grandkids or your pets attached, are helpful also.
Inform Socially Isolated Seniors When You’ll Be Hard to Reach
It’s important for you to reach out and contact socially isolated older relatives and friends, but they need to know that they can reach out to you, too. If there is going to be a time when you will be difficult to reach – perhaps you’re working from home and your time is not flexible – make sure they’re aware of that time. That way, they won’t worry when you don’t pick up the phone during that time.
Also, this may be a time to sleep with your phone and ringer on if you’re the main contact for a senior citizen who is on mandatory self-isolation. Even if they don’t need to call, it will be comforting for them to know that you’ll pick up if they do.
Send Cards to Seniors in Social Isolation
As long as the post office is still delivering the mail, sending a card can make a senior citizen feel less isolated from others. If there are grandkids who can draw cards, those cards will go a long way in mitigating the negative effects of social isolation.
Using these ways of keeping in contact with senior citizens who are in self-isolation because they must practice social isolation can help improve their mental health. And, of course, once social isolation is no longer necessary, a visit as soon as possible will be excellent for their mental health – and yours.
About the Author
Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.