As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage on around the world, many families on imposed self-isolation are adapting to a new way of life at home. Amidst all that adjustment, it’s easy to overlook an important group of loved ones who have had their usually well-ordered lives turn topsy-turvy – the seniors in our family.
Local statistics show that in 2018 30% of households here were aged 65 years and older. However, living in separate homes is also associated with depressive symptoms as a result of loneliness.
To get ah gong and ah ma through the stress of social distancing during this pandemic period, here are 3 simple ways you can help them cope better.
1. Stay in touch
Pre-Covid, your grand folks may have kept busy with social activities such as line dancing, karaoke singing or simply shooting the breeze at the neighbourhood kopitiam. But with the Circuit Breaker in effect and the elderly being especially vulnerable to infection, our seniors can’t meet up with their kakis any time soon.
To fend off the blues, do call them often to check on their wellbeing and assure them this situation is temporary. This is a great time for more tech-savvy seniors to learn how to use new apps like Facetime or Zoom. If not, just getting them to hit the loudspeaker button on their phones means that the whole family can get in on the conversation to keep them company.
2. Take care of the essentials
Seniors with mobility issues or living alone without any help may need a hand getting basic necessities. Here’s where delivery apps and services come in! Whether it’s groceries or their fav char kway teow, almost everything they need is a few taps or swipes away.
For more consistent meals, consider ordering lunch or dinner tingkat delivery. Most catering companies offer weekday meal service complete with dishes, soup and rice for as few as one person.
If you do need to go out and help granddad fill his prescriptions or accompany grandma for medical appointments, do remember to observe strict hygiene protocols and reduce interaction time with them as far as possible to keep them safe.
3. Keep them active, entertained & up-to-date
Staying cooped up at home without interaction with friends or family members can do a number on ah ma and ah gong’s mental and emotional health.
To keep them active, point them to simple exercises designed specially for seniors to do at home. If they have digital access, introduce them to free video-on-demand apps like MeWatch for their dose of daily dramas or virtual games such as Tetris or Candy Crush for entertainment.
Most of all, don’t forget to keep seniors posted on the latest news on the virus situation! It will help debunk any misinformation or fake news they may have been exposed to and put their minds at ease.