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At Schluesche Fields S.C., we are following the medically recommended protocols and government mandates for social distancing. Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is the goal. These changes have minimized our ability to interact with clients, but the impact has been particularly felt by seniors who live alone or in long term health care facilities.
By nature, humans are designed for close contact and social interaction. Maintaining human connection, whether it be family or casual acquaintances, can help boost immunity, combat anxiety and stress, and can even lower health risks that are exacerbated by stress like heart attacks and hypertension.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care facilities and hospitals across the country have put a pause on in-person visitation. This separation will protect the most vulnerable populations, such as older adults and those individuals with chronic health conditions. However, it is critical for older adults’ well being to maintain social ties.
To help your loved ones in a facility or living on their own during this challenging time of COVID-19, here are some ideas to stay connected to those you love who are isolated during this outbreak:
- Set up phone dates. Scheduling a regular call at a prescribed time and date brings you closer through conversation and also gives a senior something to look forward to experiencing.
- Write letters to each other. Getting postal mail is fun for all ages, especially when it is a letter, filled with memories of shared times. Include self-addressed stamped envelopes for your seniors; they may not have access to these items. Lonely seniors will usually re-read these notes and treasure them.
- Set up chatty technology. Whether it is a tablet, home device, or smartphone, you can use a digital device to use apps like Facebook Messenger, Alexa, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and more to video-conference with your senior. If your senior needs some technical help, most health care workers will be able to help get them started as you will not be permitted to be onsite.
- Window visits. These were briefly disallowed in Wisconsin this week but are okay again. Remember to stay at least six feet apart if you are visiting this way! Seeing someone, even from a distance, can greatly cheer up a senior.
Social distancing does not have to bring about social disconnection. Employ some of these ideas to stay connected to your senior and protect them from isolation during this pandemic. It is crucial to your loved one’s well being to have direction and routine, hope, and human connection.