THOSE MOST AT RISK
Seniors and individuals with underlying medical conditions are most at risk for contracting the Covid19 virus. This results in seniors sheltering at home more than other populations.
There are many scientific facts related to physical and psychological status which must be considered. Confinement while sheltering results in many physical changes. The result of less mobility such as walking and social interactions produces muscle and bone weakness. This also results in cardiac and lung changes because of reduced activities. These changes may affect brain function since reduced activities result in less oxygen to the brain and body. Seniors may also reduce contact with their health care providers because of fear of contracting the virus.
As a result of confinement to home, there are many psychological changes that occur.
Like a volcano which builds up gasses before an eruption, many issues which have been repressed bubble up to the surface. Issues such as family conflict, loneliness, anger, addictions, and depression surface in behavioral change. When these behaviors occur intervention is necessary.
In order to prevent these changes and resulting behavioral challenges, there are many preventative measures that can be practiced. Here are some simple interventions that are easily done while sheltering.
- Walk daily for at least 15-30 minutes during the coolest part of the day.
- Wear a mask if walking near others.
- When sitting for prolonged periods, stand, breathe, and stretch for five minutes.
- Go outdoors for fresh air since indoor air may recycle dust and organisms.
- Make contact with friends and family by telephone or social media.
- Create an activity which will stimulate mental functioning (ancestry, reading, puzzles, photo scrapbooking,)
- Hobby activities
- Interaction with friends and family who are practicing social distancing and meet practicing social distancing.
- Reduce stress!
- Practice any exercise you have done previously (golf, yoga, swimming, etc)
- Talk with a counselor or medical professional when feelings produce behaviors and thoughts that are threatening.
- Plan for tomorrow when the Pandemic is controlled.
PRACTICE AND STAY WELL
Rosemarie Lamm, Ph.D.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Licensed Mental Health counselor
RATH SENIOR ConNEXTions CENTER