Tips to Help Seniors Maintain Mental and Physical Health During COVID-19

Senior women exercising at home

It’s important for seniors to maintain mental and physical health during the pandemic.

As we close in on the one-year mark of the beginning of the pandemic, it’s not unusual to feel sadness and longing for the way things used to be. Social outings with friends, vacations with grandchildren, attending religious services – so many activities seniors took for granted have had to be put on the backburner due to a greater risk for complications from COVID-19. As a result, maintaining mental and physical health during COVID-19 has become more difficult.

While the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, such as social distancing, wearing a face covering, and good hand hygiene have helped protect seniors and slow the spread, there are negative repercussions as well. Social isolation brought on by the pandemic has led to an increase in mental and physical health issues in seniors, exacerbating conditions that were already concerning in the elderly population.

To help seniors maintain mental and physical health during COVID-19, Visiting Care Giving Services,  providers of elderly care in St. Charles, MO and the surrounding areas, recommends that families are on the lookout for the following signs that may indicate a senior loved one is struggling:

  • Sleeping less or a dramatically altered sleep schedule
  • Changes in personal hygiene habits
  • Weight gain or loss, which may indicate a lack of regular meals or unhealthy eating
  • Skipping or forgetting to take medications
  • Loss of interest in much-loved activities
  • Unkempt house or yard
  • Missed bill payments
  • Physical reactions such as body pains, stomach problems, headaches, and skin rashes
  • Increased use of alcohol or tobacco

While it’s natural to feel stress and anxiety, particularly during a year that has been full of so many challenges, learning healthy ways to cope with and manage stress are important – not just during the pandemic, but through all situations that life presents. The following are suggestions that can help a senior loved one manage stress and prioritize mental and physical health:

Establish and maintain a daily routine. With the pandemic disrupting normal day-to-day life, it’s easy to fall out of a routine and engage in too much sleeping and not eating regular meals. Create and stick to a daily schedule, including regular times for waking and sleeping, eating, exercise, and more.

Curb news consumption. While having access to news and updates around the clock about the pandemic can be helpful, it can also produce unnecessary stress. Limit reading and watching the news to short blocks in the morning and early evening.

Exercise. Adding regular exercise to a daily routine benefits both mental and physical health. If weather permits, take a walk outside or at a nearby park. If bad weather keeps you inside, there are countless videos available online designed especially for seniors for low impact exercise, stretching and strengthening. Just be sure to get physician approval before starting or altering an exercise program.

Take up or revive a hobby. Because the pandemic is keeping seniors close to home, it’s a great opportunity to try out a new hobby or focus on an interest that has fallen by the wayside. Use one of the many apps and online programs available to learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument, experiment with new cooking or baking recipes, organize old photos and record family history, read new books to learn about a particular time in history, or virtually visit museums around the world. The possibilities are endless.

Use technology positively. Technology can provide an important lifeline for seniors when spending more time at home and physically separated from family and friends. Use video conferencing apps to have regular face-to-face chats over coffee, download apps that stimulate the brain such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku, keep up to date with family and friends on social media platforms, or even just engage in a conversation over the phone. Maintaining regular contact is vital for maintaining mental and physical health.

Engage with Visiting Care Giving Services. Working with a trusted home care agency can help provide a senior loved one with regular companionship and assistance with housekeeping, personal care, meal planning and preparation, and so much more. Our compassionate care team follows all the recommended safety protocols and is happy to help a loved one remain active and engaged while monitoring mental and physical health.

To set up a free in-home consultation to learn more about our St. Charles elder care and home care in nearby areas, reach out to Visiting Care Giving Services today at (636) 493-9058. We’d love the opportunity to learn more about how we can help a senior you love remain safe, happy and healthy, right in the comfort of home. For information about each of the communities where we provide care, please visit the Service Area page of our website.