Research confirms that many individuals are feeling lonely and isolated because of necessary adherence to social distancing guidelines. The National Academies of Sciences recently presented statistics about social isolation and the hidden health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. They state that isolation unfortunately may rival premature death from smoking, obesity and lack of exercise and is associated with a:
50% increased risk of dementia
29% increased risk of heart disease
32% increased risk of stroke
Higher risk of depression, anxiety and even suicide
68% increased risk of hospitalization among heart failure patients
These are sobering facts. But here are six ways we can fight isolation by reaching out to others, especially our senior friends and loved ones, so they don’t feel quite so alone.
Connect by Phone : Calling on the phone is the perfect way to let someone know you’re thinking about them. Doing so on a regular basis can make all the difference to someone feeling lonely. Video chats, for those more tech savvy individuals or those who have help getting access, is another great way to connect.
Practice Random Acts of Outdoor Kindness: How about dropping off a bag of fresh produce, making a grocery run, or spending an hour doing lawn cleanup while safely outside someone’s home? Socially distanced outdoor visits add cheer to an isolated person’s day.
Snail Mail: Even people with access to technology love receiving real notes in the mail. There’s something special about a handwritten letter or card which can be kept on a shelf and re-read at leisure.
Gifts: It’s easier than ever to send a gift through services like Amazon and most other major retailers. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to order a novel, a candle, a crossword puzzle, puzzle book or other small gift and send it directly to someone who could use cheering up. Call the recipient and let them look forward to an upcoming “surprise” delivery.
Digital Photo Frames: These handy gadgets come in all different sizes and have been called “the best quarantine gift” to help seniors who may not have computer access stay in touch with family and friends. A screen that looks like a photo frame is programmed to receive digital images from anyone with access. Some are equipped with a motion sensor, turning on and off automatically.
Agency Assistance: Studies show that many seniors consider a loss of independence and having to move out of their home into a nursing home as their biggest fears. It’s one big reason more and more families are considering hiring home health aides for a more affordable and safer option for someone who is isolated and needs reliable help. Agencies like Reliance Home Health Care, Inc. can provide everything from basic companionship to nursing assistance. Home health aides can ensure medication is taken properly, help in meal preparation, run errands and offer personal care assistance.
Flexible care can be obtained on an hourly, daily, weekly, or overnight basis. The Blue Bell, PA company provides service to the greater Philadelphia area and is an Approved Provider by Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services. For more information call 610-896-6030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.