With social distancing in full effect, older adults are encouraged to maintain their distance from others. But this can have a major impact on your quality of life.
It's essential that during the COVID-19 pandemic that older adults stay physically safe and mentally well. Research shows that older adults who engage in meaningful and productive activities live longer, experience a better mood, and maintain a sense of purpose in their life.
To promote wellness for older adults, I have created a wellness guide to help older adults stay physically safe and mentally well during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Social distancing is important in maintaining your physical health and well-being in the time of COVID-19. And this is an important public health recommendation that we all need to follow.
The downside of social distancing, however, is that it increases the risk for loneliness and isolation among older adults.
One of the best ways to stay mentally well during uncertain times, is to stay connected to the people who mean the most to you. Because, when we are facing uncertainty, the comfort of close relationships offers soothing and reassurance.
With "social distancing" in full effect, you may not be able to see your loved ones in person, but with modern technology there are all sorts of ways to stay connected.
The key here is to stay in touch with the people who matter most to you!
Want more tips for staying socially connected?
Check out this article: Social Distancing Doesn't Have to Mean Social Isolation
With so much out of your control during the Coronavirus pandemic, a routine can help to bring a little order to the chaos.
A daily routine means that you essentially do the same (or similar) activities around the same time every day. A daily routine offer many benefits: it helps to provide a sense of security and predictability, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and it has the added benefit of helping you sleep better at night.
A healthy diet is essential to staying both physically and mentally healthy. A healthy diet helps our organs to function at their best, helps to maintain our memory and cognitive ability, helps to manage chronic conditions (like blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.), helps to strengthen the immune system, and promotes muscle and bone health.
Many older adults I know take regular exercise classes at a gym, their local senior center, or the YMCA. With social distancing, however, these options may not be available. But, you don't have to throw in the proverbial sweat towel. There are many options for staying physically fit at home. Here are some ideas:
Social distancing doesn't mean that you have to stay in your house with the windows closed. Fresh air and sunlight are essential to maintaining physical and mental wellness. Here are some ideas for taking in fresh air while also keeping your distance from others:
Getting caught up in the Coronavirus news frenzy can be overwhelming and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Limiting the amount of time you spend in front of the media can help. Here are a couple of credible sources to go to for your Coronavirus news:
Spending time on hobbies not only helps to pass the time, it also helps to reduce stress by focusing on positive and creative activities.
Here's what my older adult mom, who has chronic medical conditions, and lives alone says she's been doing to pass the time:
"What I try to do for myself is to read, do research, do my genealogy, do art activities, engage in political discussions, do my exercises, and garden. And play with my companions (pets), and watch the abundant wildlife, which we have plenty of right out my backdoor."
Have you been putting off cleaning out that closet or garage? Social distancing offers the perfect opportunity to complete those household tasks you've been putting off. Here's a strategy for getting your projects done.
Enjoy doing crossword puzzles? Reading books? Playing chess? Keeping your brain stimulated is important during social distancing.
Social distancing have you watching more TV than usual? Take a break from the TV and listen to a podcast
Give podcasts a try! Podcasts are essentially online radio shows. Here are three to get you started.
I hope that these tips help you to find wellness in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and offer helpful reminders to continue to live life to it's fullest!
Lots of love to you and your family,
Dr. Regina Koepp
(Simply click on the images below)
I'm a Stanford trained, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist specializing with older adults and families! I'm an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and a staff Psychologist working with older adults and families at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. I'm a mom of two little kids and a daughter to aging parents.
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