As older adults face changes and adaptation to life- Covid-19 arrives. This viral pandemic alters daily activities and interferes with adaptation. As we socially distance, wear masks, do not interact with family and friends, life changes occur. As social beings we normally interact with others and frequently participate in activities in our communities. The pandemic has stopped that interaction.
As we are aging our bodies are also changing. We often develop chronic diseases such as hypertension and arthritis. We often adapt with many physical activities and medical intervention. We often face many other losses during life change.
These are the realities facing older adults! As individuals age, coping strategies are developed. These coping behaviors provide strength for the many challenges facing seniors. Coping strategies often include socializing with family and friends, developing hobbies, traveling, visiting museums, participating in musical events, and building networks of friends.
When these activities are reduced by practicing safe public health behaviors, individuals become sedentary and often withdraw into themselves. This behavior often leads to physical changes that create less mobility, poor eating habits, drug dependency, isolation and depression.
The greater question is “How do I prevent this”! The first step is to recognize the pattern described. Families and friends are frequently the first to recognize the changes in behaviors and activities.
The second step is the beginning of healing. Reach out to family and friends by phone or social media. Many family members and friends are connecting with seniors by ZOOM. Create a phone friendship network to reach out to each other. Some individuals have developed a movie day utilizing television. If the members had the second vaccination they can do in-person “day at the movies”. Those who are vaccinated may also visit with family members using social distancing and other public health practices such as meeting outside.
The third step is to walk, walk, walk! If you are used to daily exercise continue your activities. Walking is the best exercise for keeping the body and mind healthy. If you have physical changes that are abnormal, seek medical help! During this challenging time, seniors are fearful of seeking medical intervention. Medical professionals are practicing the safest behaviors.
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
The fourth step is to recognize how you feel. If your mood has changed and you are feeling sad regularly, discuss this with your physician or medical health provider.
This interaction will assist you in adapting to the normal changes related to aging and the superimposed challenges of the pandemic of Covid-19.
STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY!
Rosemarie S. Lamm, Ph.D.,
A.R.N.P., Executive Director
Rath Senior ConNEXTions Center
118 West Lemon Street
Lakeland, FL 33815