8 Ways to Minimize Coronavirus Isolation for Seniors

Minimize senior isolation with these small actions

By Melissa Willets

By now you have learned social distancing is necessary to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable groups, including seniors and those who have underlying health conditions. But people age 65 and older also face a secondary risk of senior isolation, which can translate into physical and mental problems, including depression.
Social isolation for older people is not a new phenomenon. But knowing older people are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 has forced seniors to give up many of the habits that prevented loneliness, such as attending worship gatherings, joining club meetings, or even having grandchildren visit. That's why it’s vital to find new ways to stay connected. Here are some things you can do to prevent feeling isolated.

1. Connect Online

Use FaceTime or Zoom teleconferencing to see and talk with loved ones, friends, or club members you usually would meet face-to-face. If you aren’t already on social media, join Facebook so you can keep up with people you usually see at your place of worship, the store, or socially.

2. Exercise

You’re still allowed to walk outside, so if you’re able, make walking around the block a part of your routine. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, try doing a yoga class or guided meditation with a YouTube video.

3. Help Others

If you have the means, sew masks for healthcare workers, donate to first responders, order take-out or delivery from a local restaurant. You’ll feel good about your contribution to the crisis.

4. Speak to Another Person Daily

Even if you stand on the driveway and chat with a neighbor at a safe distance, you have at least made one connection during your day.

5. Write a Letter

Go back to basics and send cards or handwritten correspondence to grandchildren, friends, and other people you miss seeing in person. The good news is you’ll likely get responses!

6. Stay Busy

Have you been meaning to organize the pantry? Now’s the time! Categorize old family movies, put together a box for donation, try new recipes, or put together that scrapbook you’ve always wanted to make for your grandkids.

7. Pick Up the Phone

Call your children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors just to say, “hello.”

8. Find Resources in Your Community

Many communities have started programs to help individuals who need groceries, supplies or a friendly person to talk to during the COVID-19 isolation period. Check your local community resources to see if there is a hotline or website to connect you with help where you live.  
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Photo credit: iStock