We are hearing more and more about anxiety given the pandemic. Isolation is taking a toll on all of us. It doesn’t matter what the age; young children, teens, young adults or mid or later stage in life. This past week Kay King who works for NAMI MN talked on “Minding Your Mental Health During COVID-19“ presented to the St Paul Senor Workers. Here are some strategies to help.
Strategies to Help Combat Anxiety
Distance from the Media: We are physically distancing from people, distancing yourself from media is important. Limit the amount of news and social media. Many older adults have the news on as a backdrop all day. Is this your parent or yourself? What about changing the channel or turning it off?
Preserve some sense of normalcy: Life is different, but many things are still routine. Coffee in the morning, taking a walk or exercise in a way that fits your life, work, volunteering. Evaluate your routine.
Focus on Gratitude: A bible verse to take to heart: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 4:6 What are all the things you are grateful for? This Fall, I’ve especially been thankful to be outdoors! Have you ever been to Fronconia Sculpture Park? Picture from there earlier this month. That was a great outdoor find! https://www.franconia.org/
Stop Worrying, the Reality of the Odds:
Stop Worrying, the Reality of the Odds: People that have the virus show no symptoms or experience very few. Less than 3 % of people that become ill die. If you take care of yourself, even if you are in a higher risk category, the risk is still low. Most coughs, postnasal drip due to allergies and other symptoms are most likely not COVID.Be realistic.
Pick up Forgotten Interests, Try New Things: Most of us have more time. The piano in my house hasn’t been played much since the kids grew up. What new thing have you wanted to try?
Sleep and Exercise: Being active gets our endorphins going. I’ve enjoyed the 2.5 mile walks daily with my husband who has never walked this much! This past week, the colors were spectacular! Hikes and biking get us moving as well. This winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will be fun. What exercise do you enjoy? When you get more exercise, typically your sleep also improves. Are you getting your needed 7.5 or more hours per night?
Assisted Living and Isolation
In Assisted Living, staff is focusing on combating isolation. Staff are very busy with door to door activities, meals, encouraging visits either through phone, video/FaceTime or in person visits. Essential Caregivers are coming in, often more than once a week for visits. Isolation in this setting may be less than for an elder that is stuck in their home, especially if they have limited family and friends that are near by.
If you need advice on combating anxiety and social isolation for an elder loved one, Choice Connections is always happy to help.