Our socially isolated seniors are suffering more now than ever
In order to protect our most vulnerable population during this pandemic we have narrowed opportunities for elders to stay socially engaged and in some cases eliminated face-to-face human personal connections. The lack of human interaction is devastating and in some cases deadly.
I saw firsthand what social isolation has done to elders aging in place at home alone before COVID arrived and now, the long term effects of social distancing are mounting higher than we could possibly have imagined. Elders who are extroverts are the most at risk. In order to protect themselves from the virus, their lives have turned upside down.
Once vibrant and engaging, on the go and thriving, they now crave the life they once had and they have retreated from fear and to stay safe. At first, I was not too concerned about introverts, until I realized that this pandemic and all the safety measures we adhere to may be around a lot longer than any of us realized. As a closet introvert with a very full life, I too feel the wane of yesterday when all was right with the world.
As a gal who insists on seeing the blessings in the darkness, solutions are the key. So what can we do? Theodore Roosevelt quoted – “Do what you can with what you have”. There are many others, more creative than I, and we all need as many resources as possible.
In the state of Connecticut, we have the Connecticut Stronger Initiative – “With COACH by your side” – COVID-19 Assistance for Community Health. COACH provides free community support and outreach services in Connecticut in response to the unprecedented public health crisis, COVID-19. This program is made possible through grant funding provided by FEMA. Feel free to check out these resources at https://ctstronger.org/.
Tips to Combat Social Isolation
Stay Tuned for more solutions to combat social isolation. In the meantime, here are a few ideas to brighten the day of a loved one:
- When in-person visits are not possible –
- Have an eyeball-to-eyeball conversation virtually
- Try window and door visits – it’s not just for nursing homes
- Car visits are cool
- Social distance anywhere outside
- When you’re missing milestones and celebrations –
- Drive-by parades are fun
- Warm meal drop-off’s, it warms the heart, too
- Old school picnics never go out of style
- Cakes, treats, and ice cream – enough said
- Gathering family near and far for a Super Virtual Event
- If you long to wrap your arms around them – Send a “Hug”
- Personal notes are never passe
- Cards are uplifting
- You’re only a phone call away
- Text a thoughtful voice message – I sometimes sing
- Flowers & gift deliveries – always!