Caring for the elderly in our lives means much more than following the guidelines to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 like practicing social distancing, washing our hands, and continuing to wear our masks. (Seriously, people, just wear a darn mask!) We mustn’t forget the infinite importance that this pandemic takes on our mental health, especially senior citizens who may have spent many months even more isolated than most of us.
We’ve rounded up a list of (safe) day brighteners that can help the elderly get through the long winter months ahead.
Make a Playlist to share
Whether you’re able to create this on a streaming service or a CD, creating a custom playlist with the perfect “oldies” or Christmas bops to share with the important people in your life is a wonderful way to spread some cheer. We even recommend contacting your local nursing home or retirement communities to see how you can gift the magic of music to those who need a little more pep in their step.
Write a Heartfelt Notes
Forward along your family Christmas card or a note of well wishes for the holiday season. Remember that adding a personal touch or anecdote to your cards goes a long way to bringing a smile to someone’s face. Handwritten notes offer up a sense of nostalgia that can’t be matched. Perhaps there’s a stranger in need of a pen pal at a nursing home near you.
Make a Phone CALL or Schedule a Video Chat
There’s nothing like talking to an actual human, right? And if we can’t do so in person, the next best things are video chats and phone calls. Never underestimate the power of being able to connect with someone with a quick chat. If you’re calling strangers to brighten their days, we recommend preparing a few questions to kick off your call. Research shows that reminiscing on the good memories of the past boosts serotonin.
Donate, DONATE, DONATE
A good book that you’re ready to pass along, informative magazines, and art projects are the perfect items to help our elderly cope with the lack of visitors that they are typically used to. Distractions like this can help reduce stress and a personal note about what you loved about a book or a project is a nice way to connect. Be sure to contact the place you’re hoping to donate to prior to showing up with goodies to make sure you’re following the organization’s specific coronavirus safety protocols.
Offer to host a virtual event
Virtual game nights, cooking classes, and art classes have proven to help lift spirits during COVID-19. Along with the fact that they help connect us with the outside world, these kind of virtual events also help create engaging content that keeps our elderly focused on one goal and adds to mindfulness as they follow through a system or numerous steps to achieve a finished product. You can pre-record or host a live virtual event. Contact the organization of your choice to work out logistics and to ensure that they have the necessary supplies on hand!
Lenie Tsakonas is a regular Indy Maven contributor.