Contacting Older Adults During COVID-19

Right now, people you know across all sectors of society are being affected by the global health crisis.

One group we should especially keep in mind during this challenging time are the older adults whose usual routines and support systems are most likely disrupted.

Do you communicate regularly with an older adult in your life and express support? Do you let them know you are there for them, and that you care? Make sure to let them also know that you are grateful that they are a part of your life.

Everyone has a role to play when supporting older adults during the COVID-19 outbreak. They were there for us in the past, and now it is our turn.

JFS licensed therapist, Vicki Cohen, LCSW, LSCSW suggests,

“This is a time that we not only remember older adults, but we might find their wisdom extremely helpful. They have seen hard times and can draw on past challenges to encourage each of us as we struggle through this together.”

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Regularly check-in on your older adult friends, neighbors and family members.
  2. Call or video chat with them since texting and social media may not be their preferred method of connecting. You could call them on the phone during the TV show Jeopardy and plan to play together. Have their grandchildren call them for a bed-time story. You could also play I-Spy on video chat as Susan D. Hurst, Director of Family Life Education suggests. Plan to have coffee or lunch together while on the phone.
  3. Ask them how they are doing during this period of time? How have their routines changed and what are they doing to cope with the stress?
  4. Reach out for professional help at JFS as licensed therapists are available for teletherapy regardless of your background or your ability to pay 913-327-8250.
  5. Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Encouraging activities that you can suggest for them might include daily exercise, going for walks, stretching, listening or playing music, reading, enjoying their favorite shows, puzzle games, online social activities, meditation, and prayer.

Remind them that it is okay to watch the news, perhaps at the beginning of the day, but not all day long. Today’s news can increase anyone’s stress and anxiety.

During this challenging and uncertain time, it is important that we ALL care for each other. By taking a few simple actions, you can make the difference in person’s life when they need it the most.

Possible resources might include the Johnson County Senior Services and the Jackson County Senior Resource Directory.

Reposted with permission from the JFS Blog. Written by Molly McGurk, LCSW, JFS Director of Mental Health Services

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