As social distancing and self-isolation become our new normal due to COVID-19 and its many health risks, it is important that we all take active steps towards staying connected and engaged, even if we can’t be near others.
While social isolation is difficult for many, the senior population and individuals living with dementia are at an increased risk of suffering the negative effects of isolation due to factors such as living alone, chronic illness, mobility or the loss of family and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk, including an increased risk of stroke, dementia, heart disease and depression.
While we are all currently limited in the ways we can interact with others, there are still many actions we can take as caregivers to ensure our senior loved ones remain socially engaged. Providing loved ones with the technology they need to stay virtually connected is a great place to start. Regularly scheduled video chats and phone calls can have a huge positive impact on the mental state of those experiencing social isolation. You can even incorporate games or trivia into your virtual calls in order to keep the mind stimulated. Technology can be a wonderful bridge in staying connected with others, however, it is important that your loved one feels confident and secure in their ability to use technology; taking the time to listen to their concerns and provide guidance is vital.
If you are caring for someone living with dementia or another form of Alzheimer’s, preventing social isolation, especially currently, can be extremely difficult. Keeping your loved one engaged with activities they find enjoyable, such as reading, painting or even gardening, is extremely valuable to their emotional and physical wellbeing. If you can participate with them in these activities, that is another valuable step towards maintaining their social interaction. Activities that reinforce past roles and achieve something physically have also been shown to have a positive impact on mental wellness. Helping to fold the laundry, cook dinner or tidy the house can help those living with dementia feel a sense of achievement and encourage strong family bonds.
At Prestige, we take active steps towards ensuring our residents remain stimulated. Expecially during these times of social distancing and isolation, we work hard to find innovative and fun ways to keep those we serve active, engaged and most importantly, safe. Some COVID-friendly activities we are incorporating into our communities include hallway bingo and exercise classes, door-to-door happy hour, courtyard concerts, drive-by parades and much more.
Learn more about our senior living communities and the many ways we are engaging our residents when you find a location near you.