Mental health and well-being top of mind for many seniors during pandemic

Rockin’ and Talkin’ With the Clinton Seniors’ Association

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

Sylvia Plath

So, how are you making out? How are you managing during this pandemic? We’ve all heard that seniors and people with chronic illness need to stay home to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.

While the public health experts agree that self-isolation, social distancing, and wearing masks during this time are extremely important, they’re also worried about the toll it can take on seniors’ mental health and well-being. We’re far enough in to know that it’s tough.

Many seniors depend on activities at the seniors’ centre and in the community, as well as volunteer work, to keep them active and social. Basically, all of that has come to a screeching halt. I would encourage family members of isolated seniors to please call them regularly, and seniors to call each other frequently and have a telephone visit.

Here are some tips for coping and surviving:

* If you have a computer, there are many ways to stay digitally connected.

* If you’re a senior who has a regular job that is now on hold, why not see if there is a way to help out online or over the phone?

* Since going to the exercise room or a workout class is currently not an option, a workout online or a video workout might be a good alternative; or just go outside and take a walk. Make sure you are six feet away from other people.

* Gardening or exercising in your yard are also good options.

* Now is a good time to pick up hobbies you have temporarily set aside, or start something new, such as learning to play a musical instrument.

* Take advantage of your free schedule and start writing a book. Write your memoirs; no research required!

Isolation doesn’t look the same to everyone. You may be completely alone or share space with a family. How do you self-isolate when there’s no room to isolate?

The news itself can induce anxiety. Don’t sit in front of the TV watching news about the virus all day. Choose a trusted source and check only once or twice a day for updates.

Seniors should not be afraid to tell their doctors that they are stressed out. There are a lot of mental health resources by telephone that doctors can provide.

If you’re younger and in good health there are many ways to help without compromising a senior’s health or your own.

* Pick up the phone and call a senior.

* Knock on your elderly neighbour’s door and ask what you can do to help. Do they need groceries, or their dog walked, or garbage taken out?

* Make a care package for a senior with things like healthy snacks, books, and puzzles.

* On these nice warm days visit a senior. Sit outside to chat, observing social distancing, and enjoy a beverage together.

There are no scheduled events or activities planned for the Clinton Seniors’ Association (CSA), but the Telephone Committee will keep everyone informed regarding future meetings and get-togethers. Enjoy the summer weather and all the fresh produce that comes with the season.

Mary Burrage is unwell at this time, and we wish her a speedy recovery We extend the same sentiments to Helene Cade, who is now home from hospital, having undergone a hip replacement. Get well soon, ladies.

There are no CSA member birthdays to celebrate in August.

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