While many of us have been confined to our homes to avoid the worst of the global pandemic, the act of isolation itself can present some health and safety issues. This is especially true for those who depend on others for care, like older adults. Here are some ideas on how seniors can stay safe and maintain their health and improve their well-being while staying home alone.
Staying in Touch
One of the biggest challenges of isolation is loneliness. Staying home alone, separated from family, friends and colleagues can be very difficult. We’re social animals. That said, modern communication devices are better, more personal and more affordable than ever. Use video chat to do more than just say hello. Use it to read the grand children bed time stories, to make toasts at meal times, to share holiday dinners together, to watch the grandkids play sports, practice their instruments or perform at the school play.
One of the risks of being isolated, is that lack of mobility will cause or aggravate health conditions. With all the time in the world, there is really no excuse not to get some exercise. You don’t need a gym, a group or a trainer to get in shape. In fact, some of the most highly recommended exercises for older adults are easy to do and entirely free.
Simply taking two 15-30 minute walks a day would be a great start. If you live in an apartment building, try walking a flight or two of stairs. For muscle tone, try the plank or bodyweight squats with a chair near by. If you’re up to it, you can also try Tai Chi or dancing with prompts from appropriate Youtube videos. The best advice, is to find an activity you enjoy, and just do it because you love the activity itself.
Use a Medical Alert System
Seniors who live alone, whether they’ve experienced a fall or have an existing medical condition, often find a medical alert system offers protection and peace of mind. They typical have a help button, that when pressed sends a signal to a medical monitoring center. Alternatively, many now come with automatic fall detection, which calls for help in the event of a fall even if you can’t press the button yourself.
Once the medical monitoring center receives the help signal, staff will talk with the patient, assess the situation and determine whether they should send for emergency help, call family or both. To buy a good medical alert system, you should start by comparing devices on a review site like Seniorsafetyreviews.com. Different medical alert devices and companies offer different functionality, service and pricing. Having the right device will give you peace of mind, knowing that even tough you live alone, there’s still someone watching over you.
Food security can become a significant issue for seniors who are isolated. When you think of a senior who is isolated, it’s often a result of them being immobile, visually impaired, separated from family and friends, lacking transport or experiencing cognitive decline. Often those same issues can make it difficult for them to buy food or prepare meals.
Some of the ways to ensure food security, despite being isolated, is through grocery or meal delivery. Check with local grocery stores to see what options are available. You can also check to see what community resources offer funding, food banks, cooked meals and delivery in your local area through Benefitscheckup.org. It’s a wonderful resource offered by the Federal government to help people discover what local, state, federal and private not-for-profit resources are in your area. No one should go hungry, given all the programs available.