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  • Zara Ayanna Salmon

How to be There for the Elderly in a Global Pandemic

Whether it’s your favorite set of grandparents or your elderly neighbors next door, most of us have members of our family and friend group that would be considered a senior citizen. Due to the risk that COVID-19 poses on the geriatric population, it is important to move on the side of precaution as it pertains to the elderly. This is not an easy thing to do especially if your family member or friend is used to a routine of consistent socialization. Though we may not be able to embrace our loved ones as we once used to, with the advent of modern technology and a little bit of love, there are so many ways that we can be there for our loved ones during this time.

1. Grocery and Product Shopping

Food is one thing that unites us all as human beings. Though the kinds of seasonings may differ between cultures, we all need consistent access to food. As one gets older, they may not be able to make it to the grocery store as often as they used to, if they can make it at all. Prior to COVID-19, anything from a hip replacement to dementia can make it hard for someone to shop for themselves. With the onset of COVID-19, it truly could be a matter of life or death when it comes to an elderly person's choice to stay inside or not. If you can, shopping for someone in your community during these times could save a life.

At Opal Stork Home Care, we are committed to the care and comfort of our clients. This is why during the pandemic, we are offering free grocery and product delivery to our clients. Our clients are the lifeforce of our business and we are honored and eager to do whatever we can to make their lives easier.

2. Nature Walks that Respect the Rules of Social Distancing

Given we maintain a 6-foot distance among each other to minimize the spread of COVID-19, nature walks can be a great way to socialize during these times without getting too close. Be sure to find a trail with plenty of space such as the Sleeping Giant Tower Trail located in Hamden, CT. This will allow you and your loved one to enjoy an activity together again in relatively close proximity. Though outside, it is still important to wear a face mask and any other protective gear to fight against COVID-19. For folks with hip or knee troubles, pick a flatter trail or simply take a walk around the neighborhood. It is vital to soak in some Vitamin D during this time to elevate our moods as we adjust to our new normal.

3. Bring them Prepared Meals

Back on the topic that we love oh so much, food! While getting groceries for a loved one can be extremely helpful, there is a population among the elderly that has lost the ability to cook for themselves. Something one can do to make sure that our grandparents still get to eat their favorite dishes is to volunteer to prepare food for the elderly. When preparing food for someone else, it is important to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines on food safety. If working from home has given you extra time to hone in your culinary expertise, sharing your meals with an elder in the community can be more helpful than you know. Even though we may not be able to eat at the same table, we can still break bread.

4. Make a Call or Video Chat

A simple phone call from a beloved grandchild can make your loved one's day. Using the traditional method of a phone call, a loved one can interact with you for hours in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Video Chatting is another great tool to use to communicate with your loved one during this time. Though it may be new and confusing to an elder at first, in a short time, most will get the hang of it eventually! Using technology such as this will ensure that our elders can still be a part of the birth of their first grandchild or a great niece’s first step!

5. Saying “Hi” from the Sidewalk

Though it may be some time before we get to kiss and hug our elder loved ones, with a little bit of creativity, we can still pay an in-person visit to our grandparents as long as we are mindful of the guidelines of social distancing. Check out how this family came together to sing happy birthday to their 95-year old grandmother!

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