How to Help Elderly Relatives Cope with Lockdown

For many of us, lockdown, or at least its stricter form, is over. We might still be living with social distancing, being careful and avoiding large crowds, but many of us are back at work, able to see our friends and enjoying getting back into the swing of normal life. Even if it is a little different. But the same might not be true for your older relatives. Older people are usually more seriously affected by COVID-19 and the complications that it can bring. Many older adults have been inside since March, and some are still choosing to limit their movements to keep themselves safe. 

This has been a difficult time for older people. Many are now dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation, and even those that have decided to get back out and about are anxious, frightened, and unsure. Here’s a look at some of the things that you can do to help older relatives cope during this challenging time.

Encourage Activity

Let’s face it; most of us have gained weight during the lockdown. Even though we’ve been able to go out for exercise, we’ve become more sedentary. For younger, usually active people, bouncing back shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But limited activity can be more severe for seniors. Their joints can stiffen and swell, they might have developed new aches and pains, and getting out again can be challenging. Some older people might benefit from occupational therapy, which you can find out more about here, You can encourage them to exercise by taking them out for socially distant walks in quiet areas, encouraging more time in the garden, and sending them exercise videos that might help. 

Keep in Touch

Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to keep in touch. If your relative isn’t already online with an iPad or smartphone, consider helping to set this up for them so that they can video chat and stay connected in other ways. When you ring, don’t just check-in, or talk about the news. Tell them about your days, if you’ve got kids, let them chat, and generally try to keep things light and distracting. 

Send Them Mail

Post might not be your first choice when it comes to communication. But, there’s something really lovely about opening a letter or card. It means someone has thought about you and wanted to make more effort than pressing the call button or typing out a quick text. Send them letters, cards, pictures, and even small gifts to keep spirits up. 

Get Family and Friends Involved

Checking in daily, trying to come up with non-COVID-19 topics of conversation, and collecting shopping and medication might be a bit much if you’ve got your own family and a full-time job. Your relative might also get a bit bored of just speaking to you. Rope other family members and friends in and even consider starting a rotation.

Talk to Them About Scams

Like most things, COVID-19 has brought new scams. Some include messages about tests, which ask for payment details. Look into the latest scams and talk to your relatives about them so that they know what to expect. Scammers often target elderly people, and education is the best defense you can give them.

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