Older adults are particularly susceptible to loneliness during these challenging times. Seniors are most likely to self-isolate due to fear of infection, while also potentially lacking the proper support system to alleviate loneliness. Those aged 65 and older are the ones most affected by this pandemic.
Older adults can stave off loneliness during this time in the following ways:
Make phone calls to relatives on a regular schedule so that they can check in with you and be familiar with your needs.
Ask for help from family members when you need it and be specific about how they can help. If you find yourself with very poor mental health while isolated during coronavirus and aren’t able to pull yourself out of feelings of anxiety, depression, or fear, it is important to reach out for help.
Consider calling a crisis line or an online therapy service to find out about options. While it’s normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.
Keep to a schedule. Even if you are isolated at home, try to keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. While loneliness can feel like it will never end, trying to make these days feel as “normal” as possible will help you to get through. Start each day with a plan of a few things that you will do, keep a daily diary about how you are feeling and what you are doing.
Stay active. While it’s easy to focus exclusively on how to manage your mental health and loneliness directly during a crisis, we sometimes forget that our physical and mental health are delicately intertwined. If you spend weeks of isolation not getting any exercise, this will have a detrimental effect on your ability to cope mentally. Make it a habit to go for a short walk or engage in some other form of physical activity every day for 30 minutes. Exercise is also a great stress reliever!
Find Sources of Comfort. Finding ways to give yourself comfort even when you are feeling lonely can help to improve your mental health. Below are some ideas of “comfort measures” that you can take even if you are alone.
- Give yourself a foot massage or use a foot spa
- Take a bath
- Focus on your pet
- Cook healthy comfort food
- Watch favorite TV shows or read favorite books
- Have a cup of herbal tea (chamomile will help you to relax)
- Light scented candles (lavender will help to reduce stress)
- Take a power nap to make sure you are getting enough rest
Loneliness and isolation are always serious concerns for older adults, especially now 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.