Mitigating Elderly Loneliness During COVID

Mitigating Elderly Loneliness During COVID

A Lonely Elderly Woman

COVID-19 is making a comeback in Massachusetts. Our elderly population has been impacted both mentally and physically by COVID-19, and lack of contact and physical separation from family, friends, and other social networks has taken a heavy toll, causing loneliness and stress. Personal losses due to COVID-19 only add to the problems our seniors have to contend with. 

With the holidays approaching, we’re sharing our recommendations for mitigating the stressful circumstances our loved ones may be experiencing due to the pandemic. Compelling data shows that prolonged loneliness is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes, obesity, lack or exercise, or air pollution. While we may not be able to interact with our families in person, there are still ways to connect and let our elderly know we’re here for them.

1. Virtual Video Connections

We’re lucky these days to have tools like Zoom, Facetime, and Skype to video call our loved ones who we may not be able to see in person. 

“I love being able to see my family when they call. It is so much more personal and meaningful than a call.” – Jennie I

It’s quick and easy to set up a video call. Need some tips? We recommend this article from UCHealth Today on the best tools to connect with your elderly relatives via video. 

2. Cards, Letters, + Packages 

Getting something unexpectedly in the mail or phone call can truly lift your loved one’s spirits. Postcards and letters are always a winner, or consider a tasty treat from something like Edible Arrangements

3. Accessing Outside Help

Calling charities, volunteers, VNAs, and private home care companies to see how they can fill the downtime for your loved one. Often there are programs setup that can arrange for someone to visit your relative and spend time with them,  like cooking a meal together or playing a card game.  

4. Checking in on Elderly Neighbors

This gesture is more appreciated than you will ever know. Want to remain socially distanced? Leave them a handwritten note in their mailbox, or give them a call. A connection to your elderly neighbor’s community can help with their feelings of stress and loneliness.

5. Goodies to Go

Baking sweets or making a meal for your loved one or an elderly neighbor is a sure way to bring a smile to a person’s face! As we’re all cooped up inside, a day spend baking cookies is a good way to pass time on a dreary weekend, and sending them to your loved ones will make it that much sweeter. 

6. Pets as Companions         

It is well known that having a pet is a good way to reduce loneliness, anxiety, and depression (and not just in our elderly population!). Here are some places where you can buy or adopt a pet:

  • MSPCA Angell: The MSPCA is a national leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. The organization always has animals looking for a new forever home. Learn more at www.mspca.org
  • Emotional Support Animals (EAS): Consider an EAS for your relative. These pets are trained to help people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders. They also provide companionship and relief from loneliness. Learn more about qualifications and care at www.esadoctors.com
  • Joy For All: Joy for All makes companion cat and dog pets that are designed to bring comfort, companionship, and fun to elder loved ones. Their interactive pets respond to petting, hugging, and motion much like the real ones you know and love but don’t require any special care or feeding. See their pets here

We know these are tough times, and Abundant Home Health Care is here to continue to support you and your loved ones here and in the future. Please let us know how else we can help you this year! You can email us at reachout@abundanthhc.com or call us anytime at 617-795-2171. We’re all in this together <3.

Elderly Woman With Companion Pet

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