It’s safe to say at this point that the coronavirus has had a profound impact on everyone’s life. Whether you’re a young mother managing small children, navigating a work from home situation, or trying to figure out alternate ways of making a living while you’re business is closed, it’s clear that this is a trying time for everyone. And, if part of your responsibilities include caring for an elderly loved one, this situation suddenly becomes even harder.
It’s always challenging trying to care for your loved one afar, and unfortunately, with so many people relocating around the country and world for jobs, families, or other reasons, it’s become a lot more common. Even during the best of times, this can be a challenge but with everyone sheltering in place, and the dangers of catching the coronavirus lurking around every corner (especially for the elderly, who are more vulnerable), it can become extra stressful.
We’ve gathered the below tips to help you when you’re trying to care for your loved one from afar during this time.
Enlist The Help Of Neighbors Close By
Just because you’re far away doesn’t mean that everyone is. Chances are there are neighbors or close friends that are still living near your loved one who may be willing to drop off a package of groceries, help remind them to get their mail, or mow their lawn when it needs it. And while everyone should take the proper precautions to stay the appropriate distance away from each other, even a once a day check in from a neighbor can do wonders in giving your loved one a bit of social time, and providing you peace of mind that someone is keeping tabs on them.
The Internet is a wonderful resource right now. If possible order as much as you can for your loved one online. Groceries, takeout, medical supplies, and even continence products can all be ordered online easily, preventing an unnecessary trip to the store. Some places even allow you to set up regularly scheduled shipments of often used items, making it easier to make sure your loved one is always stocked with the supplies they need.
Make Sure They’re Staying On Top Of Monthly Bills
It can be hard to keep track of time when every day seems the same. Remind your loved ones of their bills and offer to help set up the payments for them if needed.
Contact Them Frequently
Loneliness is often a issue with the elderly, even when during normal times. But when forced to stay at home, especially for those who live alone, it can be especially challenging. Many elders stay active by attending gyms, church functions, or other gatherings each week. Without those outside activities, their loneliness could develop into depression.
Stay in contact with your loved ones by writing letters, calling them on the phone, and setting up video calls with them as much as possible so that they can continue to feel connected. If possible, enlist other family members and friends to also call frequently.
Show Them How To Exercise At Home
Helping a senior stay active is important, even when they are at home. Check out the local YMCA website to see if there are online classes your loved one may be able to join. Or, do a YouTube search for some low-impact workouts for seniors to help them get their blood moving.
Help Them Stay Sharp
All of the above can help keep a senior’s mind sharp, but why not go the extra mile and send them some things to challenge them a bit. Buy them a new puzzle to put together to pass the time. Get them some word or number puzzle books to try. Or encourage them to take up a new hobby – painting, embroidery, calligraphy are all activities that can be fun and interesting and have beginner kits that you can purchase online.
If you’re caring for an elderly loved one from far away right now, it doesn’t have to fill you with worry. The biggest thing to remember is to communicate with them often so that you’re aware of anything they may need and so they can continue to feel close to you.