Embarking on our third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the landscape looks considerably more hopeful, though we must still proceed with caution. Three years of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion has taken its toll — especially on the often more isolated, older generation. The recent Omicron variant, though exhibiting milder symptoms, appears to be even more contagious than its predecessors. And while vaccination does significantly improve one’s odds — much like the flu shot — it’s not always a guaranteed solution.
As we age, our immune systems simply aren’t as adept at making antibodies, making us more inclined to fall ill. Seniors are also more prone to high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels — all factors making them more susceptible to Omicron. The lasting repercussions? That still remains to be seen.
In the meantime, our best practices for keeping seniors safe during the pandemic include:
- Caregivers and loved ones should be vaccinated & boosted
- When it comes to indoor activities, consider continuing to keep the headcount low, or moving outdoors, if possible
- Well-fitting masks if the senior is going to be around a lot of people
- Having honest, in-depth, and easy-to-understand conversations about Covid-19 and its effects will ensure seniors are receiving proper education in an effort to avoid misinformation
Socializing is an important part of our lives for our emotional and mental wellbeing. While we encourage taking the appropriate safety precautions, it’s important to remember that completely isolating seniors during this time can also have far-reaching, adverse effects beyond Covid-19.
Managing the Mental Effects of Covid-19
Stress, fatigue, and fear have permeated every level of our lives since 2020. During this time, it’s important to recognize which coping strategies are working, the ones that aren’t, and to swap out the ones that aren’t for more nourishing and revitalizing ones.
Good coping strategies to introduce your loved one to may be:
- Encouragement to keep an open and honest line of communication. Knowing that there is someone there for you when you need to talk can work wonders for a senior’s mental health. Make it clear that talking to a professional is an option, too. Sometimes, the stress and the worry is just too much for one person to handle on their own.
- Implementing a routine that includes healthy food, expressing gratitude, regular exercise, and social connection.
- Embracing flexibility and lowered expectations. With guidelines and safety measures changing periodically, learning to go with the flow can reduce anxiety.
- Trying to reinforce a positive state of mind through daily meditation and gratitude. These kinds of healthy habits can help improve memory and cognition, as well.
For the Caregivers
We see you, and we appreciate you. Have patience and be kind to yourself especially. If you feel burnout coming on, reach out to loved ones, a professional, your local crisis line, or search out a peer support group. Talking is the best thing you can do to work through it all.
We will continue to follow public health measures in our Verve properties to protect our seniors, our staff, and all of their families.