Caring for elderly loved ones during the holiday lock

(HealthDay) – While everyone is coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults may feel the loss of holiday traditions the most.

It is possible to make this season feel joyful, even with all the changes. It is also a good time to check their health and improve your mood, even from afar.

“As much as you love older adults in your life, now is not the time to get together with them, especially if you are not in their bubble,” said Dr. Angela Catic, assistant professor at the Huffington Center for Aging in Baylor School of Medicine in Houston.

Instead, think about what you can do to make life easier for older adults, such as delivering a holiday meal or sending flowers. If they’re smart, you can virtually sign up with them, enjoying a holiday meal over the phone or video conferencing. If they live nearby, visit the window.

“You can really observe so much during a visit to the window. See if the older adults are moving, if they have lost weight and what the house looks like,” Catic said in a Baylor statement. “Families can even set tables on each side of the window, turn on the phones and dine together.”

Communicate regularly by phone, video, or window, possibly placing a call tree among family members so that older adults receive several calls a day, which can help ease isolation and improve mood. Talk about the future to help them see the light ahead, she said.

Adults who are physically and mentally capable should spend time outside every day, walking in the neighborhood or sitting on the porch, Ćatić suggested.

“Maybe they’ll take people outside, which is good for their mood,” she said. “It’s safer outside than at home, but you should still wear a mask.”

You can also check their memory, thinking skills and mental health with these virtual visits or window visits, Catic suggested. Talk about current events or reminisce about past holidays to see if I can follow the conversation.

Catic also suggests encouraging older family members who have not done so to get vaccinated against the flu at their doctor’s office or a nearby pharmacy.

“If there are red flags or if something seems to be an older member of the family, contact their doctors about the best way to solve it,” said Catic. “Whether it’s a virtual visit or a face-to-face visit, hospitals and clinics’ top priority is safety. Maintaining the health of older adults is a priority and we’re here and available to help.”

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More information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Citation: Caring for elderly loved ones during the holiday lock (2020, December 24) taken on December 24, 2020 from

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