How to support our elderly as restrictions are lifted. With the latest news and developments in the global effort to beat coronavirus, lockdown restrictions are now slowly beginning to ease, we need to continue to support our elderly during this new phase of the pandemic, whether we are family members or home care providers.
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the population in drastic ways. Older people are facing the most threats and challenges. Although all age groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, elderly people face significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions.
Elderly people must continue to take precautions even after restrictions are lifted.
Lower immunity levels put the elderly population at a higher risk for COVID-19. Therefore, doctors have been stressing the need to protect the elderly from the infection from the start of the pandemic, and more importantly, say that precautions should continue once the lockdown is lifted.
Once the lockdown is lifted, elderly persons still must continue these precautions of self-isolation at home, wearing masks, avoiding exposure to those who cough or sneeze, and regular washing of hands. They need to maintain physical distancing especially.
As more persons test positive without too many symptoms, we can expect herd immunity to develop. However, older persons must be careful as their immunological response will be lower. They should take care of their diet by including food items that can improve their immunity and seek medical care if needed. If they are on regular medication for conditions such as dementia, hypertension, diabetes, heart, kidney, or liver ailments, they should continue the medicines without fail to avoid complications.
There is an increase in the anxiety levels among the elderly as they are unable to get advice from doctors on time due to the lockdown. Many were unable to go and get medicines from hospitals. This is where our care providers can offer a helping hand with daily chores and medication.
Some are also facing psychological issues. There is fear of death, and loneliness due to restriction in movement. They could also slip into depression. The family members and care workers should counsel them and keep them engaged.
How to support our elderly as restrictions are lifted.
Recognise it is normal – feeling worried about the lockdown restrictions lifting is completely natural. No-one knows exactly what things will be like, other than that it will be a while before life returns to the pre-lockdown normal and having some anxiety about mixing more with others is fine. Remember that you are not alone.
Take it at your own pace – Some people will be raring to get out, while others might be more cautious. Do not worry about wanting to take things more slowly, and do not let anyone pressure you into seeing them in person, or meeting in a public place, until you are comfortable with it. Anxiety may also make you feel more tired, so make sure you are getting enough rest and looking after your physical health too.
Talk to someone – Talk to someone you can trust about your worries. This could be a friend, family member or care worker. Talking to someone who has had the same fears could help.
Meet one-on-one at first – Even as restrictions are being gradually lifted across most of the country, you may feel you want to continue meeting just one other person at a two-metre distance. It is also safest to meet in a park or another outside space, where the risk of catching COVID-19 is lower.
Take precautions if you need to – If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask and/or gloves to go outside, do that. It is OK to take precautions to look after yourself, and you must not feel silly about doing what you need to.
Write things down – Writing down what you are worried about, things that make you happy, and coping strategies that have worked before could help. Keeping a diary will allow you to notice patterns and identify the things that make you feel anxious.
Confront your fears – Write a list of what worries you about the lockdown restrictions lifting and put it in order of most worrying to least worrying. Then work your way through the list, starting with the thing that worries you least, using small steps to tackle each worry and help you confront the situation. The more you do this, the more your confidence will increase.
Speak to your GP – There is a range of different treatments for anxiety, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), talking therapies, and medication. Your GP will be able to help you get access to whatever works best for you, or a combination of treatments, if your anxiety is affecting your life and preventing you from being able to do things.
Here at River Garden Home Care, we are here to help, from helping at home and medication to full on dementia and diabetes care. Please call us on 020 8460 9571 or visit us at rivergardenhomecare.co.uk