The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed us with data, new social norms, and intense emotions, while bringing communities together through a collective focus on health and safety. According to the CDC, adults 65 or older are in the high-risk category for COVID-19 complications. Knowing this, leading hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Cleveland Clinic, have shared ideas for helping the most vulnerable during the pandemic. The Better Health Advisors team has decades of experience working with seniors, and we are available for custom COVID-19 planning to help seniors manage their health.
Here are the top 6 strategies for senior wellness:
1 - Create a COVID-19 Plan
- A starting point for pandemic planning is the BHA COVID-19 Toolkit, which identifies high risk groups and provides a pandemic checklist. It highlights the importance of having an adequate supply of medications, an emergency contact list, and sufficient household items to limit trips outside.
- Experts at BHA can collaborate with families to create a customized COVID-19 plan, which empowers seniors to protect themselves and prepare for potential illness.
2 - Stay in Touch with Your Doctor
- During the pandemic, seniors must balance the need to stay inside and limit their exposure with continuing to seek medical care as needed.
- For routine healthcare, consider virtual visits.
- If you feel overwhelmingly stressed or start experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor.
- If an emergency occurs, call 911 or visit the emergency room, where doctors are ready for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
3 - Manage Your Mental Health
- Naturally, isolation breeds loneliness and negatively affects mental health.
- BHA suggests that seniors do a daily check-in of their mood and emotions. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support from someone you trust, such as a family member or doctor.
- Consider taking deep breaths and making time for daily meditation.
4 - Stay Active & Eat Healthy
- Exercise regularly to take care of your body.
- Consider walking outside (with a mask!) to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.
- Daily stretching can be a useful relaxation technique.
- For a strong immune system, eat balanced meals and drink enough water.
5 - Stay Connected
- Regularly connect with friends and family members on the phone, through technology, like Zoom and FaceTime, or outside at a safe physical distance.
6 - Be Informed
- Read about COVID-19 from trusted sources and the news to stay informed.
- Throughout the day, take breaks with different activities to reduce feeling overwhelmed by the 24/7 news cycle.
Be kind to yourself, keep in touch with family and friends, and use this time to appreciate things you may have been too busy to notice in the past. We will get through this together!