By Marcel Gemme
Photo courtesy Revera Inc
November 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The pandemic is in full swing across the United States, and health officials are advising families to rethink holiday plans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age among older adults, with older seniors at the highest risk. There are also other factors that can increase your risk for severe illness, such as having underlying medical conditions. Social distancing and taking added precautions as seniors should not mean social isolation. It is essential to stay connected with our loved ones.
Seniors living in retirement homes, assisted living, or independent living are some of the hardest hit. Many families have been unable to see their loved ones in-person and have had to stay connected virtually. Other families have been able to see their elderly loved ones; everyone’s circumstance is completely different from the next person, and everyone has had to adapt to something new. Moreover, if you decide to travel, there are certain steps to take to ensure your safety and the safety of the people you are visiting.
Simple Ways for Seniors to Stay Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Online communication tools have been pivotal for many seniors for staying connected with loved ones. Even during the upcoming holiday season, these online tools are going to be essential. Many states have put in place new restrictions, and while it is important to avoid crowds and stay at home when possible, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. The National Council of Aging recommends making communication a priority. Some older adults go days without speaking to anyone at all. Unfortunately, this is common for seniors who struggle with poor health and who have limited mobility or transportation options.
Take time to schedule virtual visits with friends and family. Most online communication tools provide a video feature to help you feel more connected to a loved one. This is not the ideal situation of face to face human interaction, but it may be the only option some seniors have. Play your favorite games online, like cards or board games. There are also apps to download where many of these games could be played. Join an online discussion group for seniors or join an online book club.
Take the opportunity to enjoy holiday music online, like concerts or holiday plays that could be streamed online. These methods are especially important for seniors who are living in long-term care or assisted living and have limited ability to leave the facilities due to COVID-19. If you do not have access to smart phones or computers, communicate through letters or cards to loved ones. It is not easy for anyone right now, especially the senior demographic.
If You Do Decide to Travel, Take the Proper Precautions:
According to Excellent Care, Decency, and Optimal Living, the on-going pandemic has impacted seniors across the nation in many ways. Older Americans are most likely to see the outbreak as a major threat to their health, but many are still traveling. Travelling does increase the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19; however, adults can mitigate the risk involved.
Do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, and do not travel with someone who is sick. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask on public transportation. It is also a good idea to check the destinations cases in the last seven days. More importantly, consider your health and the health of the people you are visiting.
Stats are changing restrictions and rules constantly, and you should stay up to date about the current restrictions of your final destination. The holidays are an important time of year for millions of people because it brings people together. If you travel, take the proper precautions, avoid close contact when possible, wash your hands, avoid contact with anyone who is sick, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Marcel Gemme has dedicated his life to helping others find help. He focuses his attention on helping individuals find long-term Senior Care, he does this through his journalism, community outreach, and his website, ECDOL.org. Excellent Care, Decency, and Optimal Living are what he aims to bring to individuals looking for care options for themselves or their aging loved ones.