Seniors are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its social impact. Aside from the threat to their health, the pandemic has mental and emotional consequences for older people. Some seniors would have lost friends and close relations to the pandemic and need grief counseling or other kinds of therapy. Quarantine measures, for instance, could prevent socialization and decrease mental stimulation.
Socialization is necessary for people of all ages to thrive. In quarantine, routines are interrupted; people do not get as much exercise or companionship, causing depression and other mental health issues. A senior that does not have a family to visit them is even more at risk for these concerns.
Why seniors must be extra cautious
With COVID, governments strongly discourage face-to-face interactions because of social distancing. People whose families regularly visit are not exempt from feeling lonely. Although quarantine guidelines like these keep them physically safe, their mental health takes a beating; asking older adults to self-isolate puts up an extra barrier between them and the rest of the world.
Apart from loneliness, health anxiety is also prevalent among seniors. Older adults are the demographic at most risk of contracting COVID; simple errands like going to the grocery or a dog out for a walk could expose them to the virus. These issues can build on each other; anxiety weakens the immune system, making a person susceptible to illness.
Virtual counseling: a way for seniors to cope
Seniors can get the mental health support they need through virtual counseling with a 24/7 therapist. Through these services, they can connect with licensed therapists who can give them space to process their emotions. There are no quick answers to complicated feelings like these; instead of empty platitudes and words of encouragement, seniors would benefit from having someone who can highlight how strong they are for coping with things in their way.
Apart from general anxieties, seniors have other worries that deserve attention. Virtual counseling gives them the venue to speak without their fears of getting shot down or minimized. Sometimes, older adults only need a sympathetic ear. It’s essential to be there for seniors while providing possible courses of action.
How family members can help seniors
It’s vital to keep open communication lines with Seniors. Even if younger relatives cannot physically see them or come in direct contact, they can show their care through other things. Volunteering for grocery runs, having socially-distanced conversations, and daily phone or video calls are three ways to support a senior in a separate household.
If a senior relative lives with younger people, it’s easier to demonstrate care and attention. Watching favorite shows or listening to music together, sharing meals, and having simple conversations are enough to reassure seniors that they are doing fine.
Many seniors can feel cast aside, especially in today’s digitally connected society. With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are forced to stay indoors and limit interactions. Everyone is responsible for ensuring that their senior relatives cope well, even during shelter-in-place or lockdowns.
Learn how to cope with anxiety, quarantine fatigue, and other mental health issues that COVID has brought to the fore by booking a virtual appointment at Therapy24x7. We provide affordable therapy in NYC, particularly Manhattan and Brooklyn. Contact us for our clinicians’ availability, or get in touch with us today for other inquiries.