Keeping Seniors Active During COVID-19
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, senior care providers have had to temporarily throw their activity schedules out the window and keep residents confined to their rooms. Adult day services have had to close for the foreseeable future. Seniors living at home are quarantined for their own safety, only venturing out to shop for food or medicine at designated times. These are unprecedented times and we could all use a little inspiration when it comes to figure out what to do with days that drag on.
Right now, physical health is of utmost concern for the elderly. After all, this is a demographic known for being particularly susceptible to coronavirus. According to Imperial College London, the death rate is almost 10 times higher than average for those over 80. That said, the mental and emotional health of seniors cannot be ignored. In a state of long-term isolation, well-being is certainly going to be jeopardized. It is important that, where possible, elderly people engage their minds and bodies on a daily basis to maintain their well-being.
Here is a list of well-being activities for seniors to do, whether at home or in a residential care setting:
For spiritual individuals, engaging with their faith or beliefs is vital to supporting well-being. Here are some ideas of how to do this while in lockdown:
- Create a prayer altar or shrine with things from your home and garden
- Listen to sermons or attend religious services online
- Reading poems and passages from religious texts or spiritual authors
- Listening to hymns or other spiritual music playlists
- Have a Bible study or some kind of get-together online using a video call platform like Zoom
If you can get a hold of a set of stairs, a chair or an exercise mat, that’s really all that’s needed to do at-home or in-room workouts. Search YouTube or browse the web. You’ll find all kinds of free videos to follow for low-impact exercise like:
- Chair Aerobics
- Tai Chi
We have never been more prepared to combat social isolation in seniors. Thanks to technology, of course. Aside from phone calls, there are a lot of new apps that allow seniors to connect with friends across the globe in creative and meaningful ways.
- Sign up to read to a child with StoriiTime. This adult day software company is now offering a free service where they match an isolating senior with a child for an online story time session.
- Watch a movie or TV show virtually with friends or family through Netflix Party.
- Use a video chatting platform to call friends and family. Some examples are Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Marco Polo, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
- Look up your favorite games in the App Store or Google Play Store. You can find app versions of Scrabble, Monopoly, Uno, etc. Have your friends download it, too and then you can play each other.
Engaging the senses and challenging the brain keep the mind and body healthy!
- Indoor gardening. Why not re-pot those houseplants for spring? Start an herb garden? Tend to a Bonsai tree?
- Work on a quilting, knitting, crocheting, or embroidery project. You could even sew up some face masks to donate to care workers or other elderly friends.
- Adult coloring books. You can get these delivered from Amazon or online book retailers. You can also find print-off sheets online.
- Aromatherapy with essential oils
A lot of downtime makes an ideal opportunity for learning something new! Below you can find some ideas that will spark curiosity and keep the brain buzzing.
- Watch TED Talks
- Look up virtual museums you can tour online
- Listen to non-fiction audiobooks