COVID-19 has changed all socialization for all of us. However, those with increased health risks, like senior citizens, have faced the most isolation during these times. Assisted living and nursing homes are incredibly strict and have had to cut the social gatherings and activities that many seniors relied on for social activities. While health and safety are top priorities, isolation poses its own health risks for seniors.
Loneliness was already an issue for many older people, and COVID-19 exacerbated the issue. Luckily, there are ways to combat isolation and loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to find out more about the solutions for isolation and loneliness in older adults during COVID-19.
Risks of Social Isolation for Seniors
Loneliness is a common issue that seniors deal with, and it has health consequences. Pandemics are incredibly stressful and the required health actions can make people feel even more lonely. According to the National Institute on Aging, loneliness increases the risk for heart disease, obesity, immunity weakness, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately death. Furthermore, unexpected loneliness can have the highest risk, and COVID-19 has certainly prompted unforeseen social isolation and loneliness for many seniors.
Ways Seniors Can Combate Isolation and Loneliness During COVID-19
Unaddressed loneliness will have serious health consequences for older adults. COVID-19 and the social restrictions it prompted have exacerbated loneliness for many older adults. Thankfully, there are many ways to help solve loneliness during the pandemic.
While we cannot always spend time with our loved ones face-to-face right now, there are other ways to socialize and mitigate feelings of loneliness. Some alternative ways to socialize include:
- Phone calls
- Sending letters
- Sending voice messages
- Sending photos/ videos of grandchildren, pets, family members, and just daily life.
- Social media
- Online chatrooms or groups.
- Playing games with others online.
Exercise boosts our mood and helps protect us from depression. Additionally, it occupies our time which is important when we are feeling lonely. Staying active during the pandemic will be very helpful for seniors. Seniors can stay active right now by:
- Taking a walk outside while practicing social distancing.
- Following a virtual workout class or online workout video.
Staying Mentally Active
Keeping your mind active is important for combatting loneliness as well. Flex your brain by:
- Writing/ journaling
- Working on real or digital puzzles
- Learning a new language
- Exploring the planet with Google Earth
- Reading books
Loneliness and isolation are serious concerns for older adults always, but especially during COVID-19. Implementing the solutions above can help mitigate the risk of loneliness while keeping seniors as safe as possible from the health risks of the coronavirus.