During these incredulous times of stress and isolation, mental health has come to the forefront of discussion. Depending on the state they live in, seniors are following strict guidelines regarding visitors. The guidelines also differ depending on whether the senior lives at home or in a senior living community. No matter what your living situation is, it’s important that you maintain good mental status so that your overall health doesn’t suffer.
It should come to no surprise that research shows that mental health can be negatively affected by feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Consequently, these feelings can lead to anxiety and depression.
However, you might not have known that isolation and anxiety can lead to memory and problems with brain function as well. Furthermore, existing medical problems can also worsen under these conditions.
Why is Social Distancing Important During COVID-19?
The idea around social distancing is that when people stay six feet away from each other, they reduce the risk of getting the virus. COVID-19 can be spread through respiratory means or even through the eyes. The virus can be spread through coughing, sneezing, or just touching a surface where the virus has lived for many days. The CDC maintains the most up to date information on COVID-19 and also gives recommendations about precautions that you should take during the pandemic.
Since people who catch the virus can often be asymptomatic, everyone, regardless of how healthy they appear to be, must follow safe hygiene protocols. Many assisted living communities around the US are requiring residents who left the community to stay in a 14-day mandatory quarantine. This is done so that residents minimize the chances of spreading the virus to other residents by staying in their room or apartment.
Now that you know how important it is to stay stimulated both socially and mentally, let’s discuss some ideas for how to make that happen. This will require some out-of-the-box thinking and possibly stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Staying Occupied with Technology
Technology can be intimidating for many seniors, but isn’t now the perfect time to overcome this? If you want to use the various social media platforms, you’ll need to have a computer, smartphone, or iPad. The following are some of the most popular resources for connecting with family and friends.
Email is still an excellent way of communicating with others. And if you want your grandkids to be impressed, you can learn how to text or instant message them.
This service provides both video and audio calling services. Similar to Facebook, it’s free to use. When you can’t see your children or grandchildren, Facetime provides the next best thing. Besides that, it’s quite fun.
You’ve no doubt heard of Facebook, the largest social media website in the world. And there’s a good reason why it’s the most popular. It’s a great way of staying in touch with your family and friends. Things you can do on Facebook include sharing ideas, interesting articles, photos, videos, and more. You can also use social media to follow cable news organizations to get the latest global and national updates.
Staying Occupied in Other Ways
It can be hard to stay mentally engaged when you’re alone, but brain stimulation is more essential now than ever before. Here are some other ways to stay occupied when you’re alone.
Keep a Journal
If you’re able to write, then now is the time to give that novel a shot. If you’ve been wanting to start a journal or diary, or if there’s a story that you’ve been excited to share with the world, then this could be the best outlet for you to do it. Who knows, your story could appear in a library or a kindle!
Read a Good Book
Reading is becoming more and more under-appreciated in a society where everything is going digital. Videos are overtaking the written word with instant accessibility and brevity. However, if you haven’t read a book in a while, then you might have forgotten how it feels to get lost in a story, at least for a while. If the local library isn’t an option, then you can begin reading books with a kindle.
Experience Travel Through the Internet
In a time of restricted travel, the internet can provide that much-needed desire that humans have for exploration and discovery. It’s now possible to visit other cities, museums, and even countries from the comfort of your couch. Look more into Travel and Leisure’s 12 Famous Museum Tours. Give Google Earth a try if you haven’t already. You can “fly” anywhere in the world that you’d like, and when you do, the hours will feel like minutes.
Word and Card Games
For keeping your mind active and not just entertained, give some card and word games a try. There’s Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and crossword puzzles among many others. Online games such as Words with Friends and Solitaire are great for connecting with friends and loved ones from afar!