The Amada Senior Care blog discusses all things senior care - including in home care, assisted living, health and wellness, nutrition, long-term care insurance, and veterans programs.
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Do you remember watching PSA commercials for the national Reading is Fundamental literacy program – either as a child […] The post The Cognitive Benefits of Reading in Your Senior Years appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Do you remember watching PSA commercials for the national Reading is Fundamental literacy program – either as a child or as a parent? The spots date back to the late 1960s, with many featuring entertainment and sports celebrities like Ed Asner, Shaq and LeVar Burton. (You may have read that Burton’s fan base, inspired by the actor’s “reading nerd” ways, created a successful petition that landed Burton the role of celebrity guest host of Jeopardy this month.) Reading is Fundamental has encouraged generations of children to begin reading early and to make it a lifelong habit, as it is likely that good readers become better learners.
But as many adults experience through their 30s-50s, reading for pleasure and lifelong learning can wind up on the back burner as career and family demands take priority. It’s not until older adults hit semi- or full retirement that they have a new opportunity to dive back into reading. A 2015 study by Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of seniors said they had read at least one book in the past 12 months.
The takeaway for older adults is that becoming a bookworm while aging in place is one of the best things you can do to boost cognitive health. Research by the American Academy of Neurology points to a lower rate of cognitive decline in dementia patients who were avid readers. A study by the University of Toronto found that reading can promote an increased tolerance for uncertainty—a useful personal skill to have during this time of pandemic. Studies show that the habit of reading by adults aged 50 and older leads to improved memory, better decision-making abilities and more uninterrupted sleep cycles.
Reading also is a great hobby for maintaining senior mental health and reducing stress, as it is a relaxing pursuit but it also can be turned into a social activity. To become a social bookworm, consider joining an online reading club (your local library may offer one) or creating one of your own with friends. You and your fellow book lovers can discuss plot points and character development via FaceTime, GoogleDuo or Zoom.
Now what to read? So much time, so many book lists! Click on the following lists to get a few ideas on interesting and inspiring reads this summer and fall:
And here are a few suggestions from our friendly and helpful senior care advisors at Amada Senior Care:
No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox – The actor bravely discusses the realities of facing increasing health issues related to Parkinson’s disease as he grows older. He realized he entered a new stage of the disease when he broke his arm severely from an accidental fall at home. The progressive condition has him contemplating getting more Parkinson’s help at home. Fox also is suffering cognitive decline related to Parkinson’s, which may force him to retire from acting forever.
You’re Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss – This book reminds us that reading not only is fundamental but fun, and that getting older can be as fun as you make it out to be. Whether you are newly retired, an old soul or a kid at heart, this picture book is just what the doctor ordered for laughing at what it is to be a human on the senior journey.
Is There Any Ice Cream?: Surviving the Challenges of Caregiving for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s, Anxiety and COPD by Judith Allen Shone – The author had to jump into the role of caregiving for a family member with Alzheimer’s and learned she is in good company. An estimated 5.7 million Americans are living with some form of memory loss, and many family caregivers – often a spouse – took on the task of Alzheimer’s home care with little warning or training. Shone chronicles her caregiving journey with humor and delivers greats insight into the many daunting challenges and emotional chaos she experienced while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, COPD, cancer, vascular dementia, and anxiety.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – The fact that many popular TV crime series have starred mature sleuths – think Columbo, Jessica Fletcher, Lennie Briscoe, et al. – says you’re never too old to play detective. Set in a retirement village, four septuagenarians who are unlikely friends – start meeting weekly to discuss unsolved crimes. Then a local developer is found dead, and a mysterious photograph was left next to the body. The members of the newly minted Thursday Murder Club have their first live case and as bodies start piling up, they must pull all the tricks from their sleeves to catch a killer.
The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jenifer Lewis – Known most recently for her matriarch role on the hit sitcom black-ish, Lewis shares her trials and tribulations as a Midwestern girl from poverty who followed her dream to becoming a mega-star. Her multiple talents earned her starring roles on Broadway and led her to Hollywood and parts on hit sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends. Her iconic role as Mama in the cult movie favorite Jackie’s Back cemented her status as “Mother of Black Hollywood” to then-freshman actors Taraji P. Henson, Whitney Houston, and Tupac Shukar. Her no-hold-barred memoir includes her battle to achieve wellness for bipolar disorder and sex addiction. As she bares her soul and shares her insights, she impresses on all these hard-earned words of advice: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder – This wry and funny book was the inspiration for the movie starring Frances McDormand, who won the best actress award at the Academy Awards this year – while the film took Best Picture and Chloé Zhao won Best Director honors. It reveals the dark underbelly of the U.S. economy and the precarious future awaiting many older Americans who are retirement-age and should be enjoying their Golden Years. Yet the film also celebrates their resilience and creativity, and the fact that they have not given up hope even as they navigate a nomad’s existence.
If I Die Before I Wake: A Caregiver’s Journey by Eli Shaw – This book was written by Bob Kershaw, who said he used a pseudonym to protect the privacy of families mentioned. Their stories are part of his 60-year journey as a caregiver, beginning at age 10 when he befriended a young neighbor who had Down’s syndrome. He became a mentor to the boy and protected him from bullies. When he was just 19, Kershaw founded Camp Happiness, a camp for children with disabilities and it is still going strong. He started writing the book in the 1990s after losing his father, best friend and a neighbor all died within a three-month span. After discovering there were few books about grieving or the caregiving process, Kershaw decided he needed to write something down to leave behind as a legacy. He also wanted to offer support for caregivers of elderly parents. “Most caregivers heap everything on themselves and don’t talk about their feelings,” Kershaw told The White River Valley Herald in a 2019 interview.
“The Cognitive Benefits of Reading as You Grow Older” was written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.
The post The Cognitive Benefits of Reading in Your Senior Years appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Elder abuse is real and more common than you think. You or a loved one may be at risk […] The post Checklist: Protect Yourself or a Loved One from Elder Abuse appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
Elder abuse is real and more common than you think. You or a loved one may be at risk because as seniors age, they increasingly become targets for scammers, con artists and abusers—and sadly, the abuser may be a family member. The National Council on Aging reports that every year up to 5 million older Americans are abused, and that $36.5 billion is the estimated annual loss suffered by victims of financial abuse. Seniors can become easy victims for scams because often they are isolated, lonely and tend to be trusting. Many seniors may suffer from memory loss or dementia, leaving them even more vulnerable to scams. Seniors are often a big target because they are thought to have substantial amounts of money, but even those on a fixed income are targeted.
The epidemic of elder abuse has been worsening in recent years, and the current pandemic has sparked new scams related to COVID-19. It’s become more important for seniors to understand how to protect themselves. The first step is identifying the types of elder abuse and their frequency:
Neglect and Self-Neglect (29%) – The failure to provide the goods or services necessary for avoiding physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness, e.g., abandonment, denial of food or of health-related services.
Financial Abuse/Exploitation (29%) – The improper act of using the resources of an older person without his or her consent, especially for another person’s benefit.
Emotional Abuse (24%) – The infliction of mental or emotional abuse, i.e., humiliating, intimidating or threatening an elderly person.
Physical Abuse (24%) – The infliction of mental or emotional anguish, i.e., slapping, bruising, restraining.
Sexual Abuse (2%) – Inappropriately touching or sexually molesting an elderly person.
Isolation is the biggest indicator that a senior is experiencing elder abuse. The reason is that many seniors who are experiencing abuse may feel ashamed or embarrassed, especially if the abuser is a family member.
In addition, memory impairments like Alzheimer’s or dementia may make a senior feel like they won’t be believed if they tell someone. They may be in denial that the abuse is occurring or may be afraid that if they report it, the abuse will get worse.
Do NOT let these things stop you from reporting elder abuse if it’s happening to you or someone you love.
How Can I Protect Myself or a Loved One?
Create a network of trusted advisors, professionals and friends who have the senior’s best interests at heart.
Appoint a financial planner to provide oversight if there are concerns about a specific family member or caregiver’s decisions.
Keep vigilant for signs of financial abuse, which often initially appears as a benevolent fundraising request. Continue reading to learn about some of the most prevalent fraudulent schemes targeting seniors.
The 10 Most Common Senior Scams
1) Obituary Scam – Using obituaries to target recent widows, scammers attempt to collect false debts of the deceased.
2) Magazine Subscription – Company sends free magazines and convinces a senior she owes money for the subscription.
3) Sweepstakes – Crooked contest claims a senior won a prize and needs to send in money to collect winnings.
4) Charitable Donations – Unscrupulous charities take advantage of generosity and memory loss to request donations repeatedly.
5) Investment Scam – Salesperson convinces a senior that an unusual asset like a horse farm is worth a significant investment.
6) Grandparent Scam – Scammer calls late at night pretending to be a grandchild in need of emergency funds by wire.
7) Helpful Nephew Scam – Trusted relative visits a senior frequently and asks to borrow $10, knowing the requests will be forgotten.
8) Sweetheart Scam – Scammer befriends a lonely older adult to get access to money or to be written into the will.
9) TV Shopping Trickery – As-seen-on-TV products hide extra fees and charges in the fine print.
10) NEW! Coronavirus Scams – A new wave of criminals are targeting seniors by capitalizing on their fears.
One of the first things you can do to protect yourself of a senior loved one is to place a checklist of reporting agencies in plain sight, along with the warning signs of abuse. Go ahead and print this blog post so that you can have the information at hand.
Resources for Reporting and Helping Elder Abuse Victims
National Center on Elder Abuse (www.ncea.acl.gov) – State resources, including helplines, hotlines and information.
U.S. Administration on Aging (www.eldercare.gov; 1-800-677-1116) – In partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, operates the Eldercare Locator to help individuals find local resources.
National Center for Victims of Crime—Financial Crime Resource Center (www.victimsofcrime.org) – Helps victims of financial crime recover their assets and recover control of their lives.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (www.consumerfinance.org) – Ensures that consumers get the information they need to make sound financial decisions.
Reach Out to a Senior Care Advisor
Finally, if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, reach out to an Amada Senior Care advisor for resources. Click here to find an Amada Senior Care location near you or call us toll-free at 877-44-AMADA. We’re here to help.
Written by Jeremy Brooker and updated by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors.
The post Checklist: Protect Yourself or a Loved One from Elder Abuse appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
When Laurie became mentally ill, she remained blissfully unaware. She saw no reason to doubt her own sanity based […] The post Catching Early Signs of Mental Illness in the Elderly appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
When Laurie became mentally ill, she remained blissfully unaware. She saw no reason to doubt her own sanity based on interactions with her daughter and grandchildren, who visited once a week. They treated her like they always had, and responded to her in the usual ways. Eventually, she started noticing that it took a bit more effort to make sense of the news every night. One afternoon, despite her best efforts, she couldn’t finish that newspaper crossword puzzle she had been doing for the last 15 years. But that was because she was 82 years old! And when she stopped going to Sunday brunch like she always had, it was because she was too tired – and she knew her friends would understand.
Little by little, Laurie began withdrawing from her social life. She felt it took too much energy. She nestled herself in the comfort of isolation. It seemed everyone else was too busy to see her. Laurie was always tired but couldn’t sleep, and had no waking will to spare. “That comes with old age,” she told herself – but she had no interest in what she used to enjoy, no energy for it, and no desire to find out why. She had already lived a full life, so what more was there to want?
If you read between the lines of Laurie’s story, you may or may not recognize signs of mental illness. If you don’t, you’re in the same boat as many. Common elderly mental disorders like depression and anxiety often go under-diagnosed and under-treated, frequently unrecognized by health professionals and adult caretakers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder. Of that percentage, few are helped. In addition, older adults are less likely to access mental health issues. The National Council on Aging points to various reasons: from the stigma associated with mental illness to lack of access to treatment from providers to misconceptions that conditions like depression and anxiety are a normal part of aging.
Our common goal to address mental illness in the elderly and ensure their mental health is often inhibited by our lack of awareness, the way we downplay symptoms, and the stigma attached to diagnoses. In the face of these challenges to acknowledging mental illness in the elderly, how do we help a sick senior who may not even be in the right state of mind?
There are clear signs that caregivers and loved ones must catch before mental illness strikes in a full-fledged way. Senior citizens have particular risk factors to mental illness that should be understood. Proactive recognition is always a better care solution than emergency reaction. Before a senior you love becomes ill, you should first address these causes that invite mental distress.
Prevention & Intervention
The point of addressing risk factors is prevention and slower progression: the opportunity to avoid the pain and disillusionment a senior would feel if they ever became fully mentally ill. Most seniors like Laurie, who have led happy, full lives before falling ill, would not otherwise suffer like this in their final days. However, some mental illnesses in the elderly are unavoidable. After doing all you can to prevent the worst, it can help to be aware of the resources listed below when you need help or information.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI))
NAMI Hotline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
Call 24/7: 1-800-273-8255
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
“Catching the Signs of Mental Illness in the Elderly,” written by Michelle Mendoza and Jeremy Brooker, Amada Blog contributors.
The post Catching Early Signs of Mental Illness in the Elderly appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
It’s summertime! Time to enjoy gardening, picnicking, taking in outdoor craft shows and concerts in the park, and many […] The post 6 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors to Avoid Dehydration appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
It’s summertime! Time to enjoy gardening, picnicking, taking in outdoor craft shows and concerts in the park, and many more fresh air activities. It’s also the season when the risk for life-threatening dehydration soars. While embracing outdoor activities, be sure to stay proactive during the hot summer months and take steps to avoid dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and fainting or dizzy spells.
Seniors are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. Experts point to chronic medical conditions and prescription medications impairing the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature. Heat stroke, heat edema (swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot), heat syncope (sudden dizziness), heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are among the many heat-related illnesses—collectively known as hyperthermia—that could be life-threatening for seniors.
A recent study by Climate Central found that that each year 12,000 Americans die from heat-related causes and that more than 80% of victims are older than 60. The National Institute of Aging points to these health-related factors that increase risk of hyperthermia:
Because of their training, Amada caregivers understand hot summer weather can be challenging for the elderly. They know how to help senior clients take steps to minimize their risk of health problems caused by heat and keep vigilant for signs of distress. The simplest protective steps that you or your senior loved can take are to drink plenty of water, access air conditioning as needed and wear sun-protection clothing. Here are six summer safety tips for seniors to beat the heat:
1) Stay hydrated. It is recommended that everyone drink 8 glasses of water each day, but especially those over 65. “Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated,” said Dr. Ronan Factora, geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic. As a result, they are more prone to heat stroke.” Seniors also lose the ability to conserve water as they age. Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol, as they will further dehydrate you. If you are outside or exercising, be sure to drink sweat replacement drinks to replace the extra water you lost.
2) Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting and light-colored clothes will keep you cool and not absorb as much heat from the sun. It’s best to wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to help regulate your temperature. A broad hat and sunglasses will keep the sun’s rays out of your face and eyes.
3) Wear sunscreen. This is especially pertinent for seniors, as many prescription medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 20 or higher will help you avoid sunburn.
4) Stay out of the sun. Check the forecast and avoid prolonged time in the sun, especially on days where the temperature reaches above 90 degrees. Try to plan any outside activities for the early morning or in twilight hours after the sun sets.
5) Spend time in air-conditioned places. If you want to get out of the house while avoiding the heat (or if your house isn’t air-conditioned), look for activities in spots with AC. With Covid-19 still at large, you’ll want to consider places that are less crowded or where there is plenty of room for social distancing, like a shopping mall, senior center or library.
6) Know when to cool down. If you’re feeling heated, take a tepid (not too hot or cold) bath or shower to cool down. You can also use cool washcloths on the neck, wrist, and armpits. Seniors are at a higher risk of heat-related illness due to health factors they are susceptible to such as poor circulation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the inability to perspire due to certain medications. The following are health problems caused by heat and their warning signs:
|Health Problem||Definition||Warning Signs|
|Dehydration||A loss of water in the body||Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, passing out|
|Heat Stroke||Dangerous rise in body temperature||Temperature of 103 or higher; red, hot, dry skin; fast pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; confusion; passing out|
|Heat Exhaustion||Caused by too much heat and dehydration and may lead to heat stroke||Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fast and weak pulse, fainting|
|Heat Syncope||Fainting caused by high temperatures||Dizziness or fainting|
If you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms above, move to a cool and shady place. If they are awake, try to get them to drink plenty of water/ and or sports drinks to replace electrolytes. In the case of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have blood pressure or heart problems.
Minding sun safety guidelines and taking extra precautions to minimize risk will allow you or your senior loved one the opportunity to enjoy an active and safe summer.
“6 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors to Avoid Dehydration” written by Taylor French and Michelle Flores, Amada contributors.
The post 6 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors to Avoid Dehydration appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
On July 4, 1776, the United States claimed independence from England by issuing its “Declaration of Independence.” On Sunday, […] The post Preserving Senior Independence for Our Aging Veterans appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
On July 4, 1776, the United States claimed independence from England by issuing its “Declaration of Independence.” On Sunday, July 4th is celebrated as a national holiday where families gather to barbecue, celebrate freedom and watch fireworks. This year with Covid-19 restrictions loosening in many states, dazzling pyrotechnic shows are back in a big way.
In addition to participating in festivities, we have a duty as Americans to honor those who have made sacrifices to preserve our freedom and independence. While this duty is often forgotten, there are caregivers and other unsung heroes in senior care who serve our veterans not only on this holiday but every day of the year. At the forefront of our borders and in the face of many dangers, veterans were able to brave and endure extreme hardship to protect Americans at home. When they come back, it is only moral to return their sacrifice by providing them with all the quality care they need.
Today, the veteran population of America includes men and women who served in a range of battles throughout history. The oldest served in World War II. Since then, veterans have come home from the Korean War (also know as “The Forgotten War”), the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in Afghanistan and Iraq. For this range of generations of veterans, long-term care can become necessary at any age.
Family caregivers tend to stand at the front line of providing veterans’ long-term care. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calls these caregivers those who have “borne the battle.” Veterans’ caregivers often compensate for the independence and quality of life lost by warriors who return home with disabilities, health issues and mental illnesses, or “invisible wounds.” A spouse, parent, sibling or child often takes on this task, which can be especially difficult if they have to manage other responsibilities.
An ultimate goal of proper caregiving is to enable care recipients to live as independent a life as possible. Trained caregivers like those employed at Amada Senior Care provide in-home care services that recipients may have done on their own in the past. But with their help, recipients are encouraged to maximize all independence available given their state of health, mind or well-being.
Take, for example, a senior veteran who requires aid in bathing and dressing or other activities of daily living (ADLs). Since a caregiver is able to help the senior accomplish these things, the senior can go through a regular day doing other things independently. Because they are clean and well-dressed, they are presentable in public and can travel, socialize and eat meals comfortably on their own.
John Tucker, a 78-year-old Vietnam veteran and senior client of Amada Senior Care of Nashville, is confined to a wheelchair due to arthritic knees. His caregiver Bob Schricker was able to help him obtain medical equipment from the VA to assist with his mobility around his home. Bob installed a carpet runner so that he could wheel about easier. He also was successful in arranging local medical care for John who, although he can drive, was having difficulty making the long drive to the Nashville VA Medical Center. John has been able to regain his upper body strength since a hospitalization two years ago.
The key to preserving the highest amount of independence, despite a dependence on a caregiver for help with activities of daily living (ADLs), is in accepting limitations. This may be easier said than done for a middle-aged OEF veteran compared to an aging Vietnam veteran, or even vice versa. Though the life of one receiving care outwardly appears highly restricted, accepting care from a caregiver is easier when physical and personal limitations are acknowledged, not denied.
Researchers have studied examples of limitations on independent living for veterans. It could help veterans’ caregivers to know that studies are most recently concerned with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury in particular, especially among the 2.2 million Americans who were deployed since the September 11 attacks.
These invisible wounds can significantly limit a veteran’s ability to manage ADLs, their mental engagement, interaction with family, mood, character and mental health. These are difficult obstacles to independent living. Caregivers who work on healing veteran’s emotional and mental wounds are impactful and valuable, especially if they do it with a genuine sense of concern for the veteran’s health and wellbeing.
“John told me of the difficulties he had to deal with caring for the men he led and protecting them with his own body,” Bob shared. “He said that the way he deals with PTSD is that he had to do something that was bigger than him after he returned from Vietnam. He felt he would have been a suicide statistic like many other veterans if it weren’t for his grandmother’s earlier guidance as he was growing up.”
About a year ago, John and Bob were guests on “PTSD Warrior Stories,” a YouTube series by veteran and country singer Chris Turner. In addition, John is honored on the Wall of Heroes at the Veterans Clinic in Gallatin, Tenn.
Respect a veteran’s journey towards accepting their limitations with obstacles like these. Provide their care optimistically, with hope that they will acknowledge limitations in order to shed light on newer possibilities. Work together towards compensating for any lost independence or quality of life.
This holiday is meant for more than a long weekend. We can take independence for granted or forget what it cost to achieve and maintain. Don’t forget to treasure your independence, the independence of others and the sacrifices made by our veterans this Fourth of July. Here are some ways activities to do with family, friends or on your own this holiday weekend or during the year:
“Promoting Independence by Caring for Our Veterans,” by Michelle Mendoza and Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors.
The post Preserving Senior Independence for Our Aging Veterans appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
It’s not surprising that a reported 25% of adults 65 years and older have experienced some level of anxiety […] The post 6 Mental Health Tips for Seniors Entering a Post-Covid World appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
It’s not surprising that a reported 25% of adults 65 years and older have experienced some level of anxiety or depression during the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, seniors and older adults— being at a higher risk for severe illness with coronavirus—were urged by the Centers for Disease Control to stay home and limit interactions with friends and family. While these restrictions helped protect segments of the senior population, they also exacerbated feelings of social isolation and loneliness among its members. Even seniors assisted by a family caregiver or a paid in-home caregiver may have struggled with loneliness from a lack of social activities or with anxiety from watching or reading continuous news about the pandemic’s progression.
You would think that with the lifting of restrictions state-by-state, older adults would experience a lifting of spirits as they look forward to returning to their regular routines pre-Covid. But the reality is that there will be long-lasting mental health effects related to the pandemic. Like natural disasters or war, public health crises trigger post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.
Indeed, older adults and seniors can expect to feel anxiety, stress and even clinical depression as the nation re-emerges from the pandemic. They should accept any strangeness they may feel, as we all face new challenges surrounding the return to “normal life” and the uncertainties regarding Covid-19 variants. If you or a senior loved one are worried about navigating the post-Covid world, try some of the following suggestions for feeling less stress and anxiety and finding ways to reconnect with positive results. A family member or a friend to an older person can adopt these tips to help support a beloved senior’s mental health.
Give yourself time to adjust. Ease into re-emergence it by scheduling dental and medical appointments that you had the option to postpone during lockdown. Make dates to see a few of your closest friends and family (being mindful of following CDC recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals). By going slow, you’ll feel a sense of control and safety.
Accept any feelings of anxiety or loss. These feelings are a normal response to re-emergence, as dealing with a pandemic forced many of us to confront our thoughts and feelings about mortality and death, and indeed perhaps with losing a friend or a loved one to coronavirus. If necessary, make an appointment with a professional mental health therapist so you can talk through your feelings and get coping tools.
Slowly reconnect with social circles. You may find that your senior social networks (church, civic groups, clubs) may have shrunk through death, disability or people moving away. Still try to reach out, albeit safely by wearing a mask and social distancing to help support efforts to achieve herd immunity.
Pace yourself on outings. If the idea of eating inside a restaurant makes you anxious, try eating at a sidewalk café. Change can feel uncomfortable, even when it might be a positive change.
Focus on the present. Try not to think back on what was and instead concentrate on what is in front of you. This type of acceptance will prevent a downward spiral into worry and negative thoughts.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Did you manage to navigate social isolation using healthy coping mechanisms like taking a walk, meditating, doing yoga, exercising, making time for a hobby or calling a friend? Even when you had some bad days, give yourself credit for bouncing back during an unimaginably difficult time.
There will be more challenges to come but remember that as a species, human beings are naturally resilient. Just a little bit of self-care will go a long way in developing a deeper resilience and getting you over any mental health hurdles. If you find you or a senior loved one might need some extra support at this time of re-emergence, don’t hesitate to reach out to a compassionate and knowledgeable Amada Senior Care advisor. Click here to find an Amada Senior Care location near you or call us at 877-442-6232. We are happy to help.
“6 Mental Health Tips for Seniors Entering a Post-Covid World” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.
The post 6 Mental Health Tips for Seniors Entering a Post-Covid World appeared first on Amada Senior Care.
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