Social distancing and self-isolation are absolutely necessary to protect those of us over the age of 65 from the new coronavirus and COVID-19. Especially those with underlying health issues, such as diabetes, a suppressed immune system, or heart and lung problems. Unfortunately, being stuck inside and feeling cut off from the world can lead to its own problems. You may be more inclined to develop unhealthy habits, or feeling angry, anxious or depressed.
To ensure you stay happy and healthy while you are hunkered down at home, follow these 5 guidelines for physical and mental wellness.
Stick to a Routine
It can be tempting to sleep in, skip your shower, and stay in your pajamas all day, but it’s not good for your mental health. Plus, keeping up with hygiene is important for physical health, too. Even if you’re unable to maintain your normal routine, it’s important to create a new one, and follow it.
Try to wake up at the same time every day, perhaps starting with a light workout or a walk, assuming you can do so while following social distancing guidelines. Take a shower, make a healthy breakfast, and plan your day.
It’s normal to crave comfort foods in times of stress, and it’s alright to indulge those cravings from time to time, but it’s also important to balance it out with healthy, nutritious meals. If you live in a senior living community, ask about meal delivery, which is currently being provided for all Eddy Senior Living residents.
If you normally grocery shop for yourself, find out if your store has special hours for at-risk individuals, or offers grocery pick up. Make sure to wear a mask, and be careful not to touch your face until after you’ve washed your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, you may want to consider a grocery delivery service, or enlist the help of family and friends during this time.
With group fitness classes and gyms closed for the foreseeable future, and walking groups no longer able to meet, many seniors have become sedentary. Unfortunately, prolonged periods of sitting and lack of physical activity, can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
To stay active, search for online fitness classes especially geared to aging adults. Simply type “free exercise videos for seniors” into a Google search or check out YouTube for hundreds of online options. Look for activities that don’t require a lot of space or equipment, and can be done with items you already have on hand, such as light strength training with canned goods, gentle stretching and chair yoga.
Quite possibly the hardest part of self-isolation is the lack of human contact. You miss your children and grandchildren. You miss volunteering, going to church, and playing cards with your friends. These connections are vital to our health and happiness, especially as we age. Luckily, we have technology to help ease the distance.
Schedule weekly phone or video calls with the grandkids using simple communication tools, like Zoom and Facetime. Find out if your church is livestreaming Sunday services, and plan weekly game nights with friends, using free websites like Pogo and Tabletopia. If you normally volunteer, ask if there are ways you can help out online or over the phone. Check out more ways to stay engaged.
Do Things You Enjoy
Too much time watching the news can be anxiety-inducing and depressing. Take a break from the television and social media to do something you enjoy. You may not be able to meet with your Bridge club or join friends for coffee, but you can pick up an old hobby that’s taken a backseat to your social life.
Whether you prefer crossword puzzles or jigsaw puzzles, reading a book or writing one, now is your chance to get back to the things you enjoy, or perhaps try something new. Always wanted to learn how to paint, knit a scarf, or build a model airplane? Order the supplies online and find an online tutorial or instructional course.
What We Are Doing to Keep Residents Happy & Healthy
At Eddy Senior Living, the health and safety of our residents and staff are always our top priority. In order to protect everyone during the coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled all social gatherings and activities in our senior living communities. However, mail and food is being delivered directly to all residents. We are also taking extra cleaning precautions with door handles and handrails, and are no longer allowing visitors, except in rare, end-of-life circumstances.