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Tips for Seniors: Mental Health During the Pandemic

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COVID- 19 has impacted the entire world in many ways. With an endless stream of disconcerting news while being cooped up in our homes, it is no wonder that anxiety and depression are on the rise. Some experts fear the fallout of mental health issues in the wake of the virus will be great, creating what they have termed an “Echo Pandemic”. 

Seniors have always been amongst those who experience isolation, and the COVID-19 related quarantine adds another component of difficulty to this ongoing challenge. 

It is perfectly normal to be feeling anxious, sad or depressed. At Independence Matters we want you to be as healthy as possible, so we have put together some tips that may help.

 

Connect with friends and family

Social distancing is recommended for keeping us physically apart, but the phone is a safe way to remain socially close with your loved ones. Another great option for social connection is to use the computer to communicate with your family! Facetime, Skype or Zoom are all free to download and you will be able to physically see your loved ones in real time! Perhaps a family member could set up a call with you on their computer and someone on our team could assist you to connect. Be honest with your friends and family about how you are feeling because you may find that you are not alone in what you are experiencing right now. We are all in this together!

 

Always get a good night’s sleep 

A good and restful night’s sleep has many physical and mental health benefits. To make for a relaxing bedtime, turn off the T.V. at least one hour before you plan to sleep. This allows your mind and body to settle comfortably into bedtime and truly relax. A short meditation on gratefulness and positivity can be another beneficial tool to ease into sleep and wake up well rested. If settling into bedtime is difficult, some before bedtime activities can help to unwind such as reading a favorite book or listening to soothing music or white noise.

 

Reduce Media Consumption 

It is important to be informed about issues that could affect your health, however, being consumed by a constant stream of negative news can be anxiety inducing and disturb your sleep. Instead of spending too much time with the news, instead, try to read a good book, work on a puzzle, or write a letter. There are many ways to take media breaks that can be fun and beneficial to your health such as doing a bit of housework or taking a socially distanced walk.

 

Create a new daily routine  

Having structure in daily routine contributes to a positive mental outlook. If possible, try to get dressed each day and eat a good breakfast, more than ever, routines are important to start your day in a pleasant way. We recommend opening your curtains to let the sun shine in and always set aside some time to sit on your balcony in the fresh air.  Put on some of your favourite music and move around your home, do a little exercise while you’re at it! As always, 20 minutes of purposeful movement is recommended daily. Scheduling time for favourite TV shows and making a few phone calls to loved ones are a few simple tips to create an enjoyable and structured day.

 

Practice good nutrition

A  good diet can really make a difference, helping you to feel satisfied and giving energy throughout the day. We recommend lots of veggies, fruits, nuts and protein (fish is a good protein due to its healthy oils and its support of brain function).

 

Keep calm and be kind to others

Throughout this difficult time please keep in mind that everyone is going through hardships related to COVID- 19. Be gentle with yourself and others, try to be patient, calm and understanding.  This is a difficult time for everyone, and we all feel differently at different times. We hope that our support and some of these tips will help you to cope to the best of your abilities. 

We will all get through this together.  Just think about the fact that we are living history.  Children in the future will read in school about how we managed to “conquer Covid-19 in the year 2020. “ 

Soon we will be able to connect and hug our families again.  We will be able to attend family functions and we will be once more with the ones we love. Hang in there.

  • Your family physician can help – make an appointment to talk with your doctor.  They can support you.
  • Mental Health Crisis Line : Call 310-6789 (do not add 604 , 778 or 250) this is a 24 hour crisis line for emotional support and can offer mental health information.
  • Health Link BC – for information and advice on health and mental health issues dial 8-1-1 and talk to a nurse.

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