As we stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Roopa Anmolsingh of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates reminds us to keep older adults socially connected.

St. Luke’s Encourages Seniors to Practice Physical Distancing, not Social Isolation

While it’s important to pull together to slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, be sure to stay connected socially, advises Roopa Anmolsingh, MD of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates.

“Social distancing is not social isolation,” Dr. Anmolsingh says. “In fact, evidence-based studies show that staying active, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially, is crucial to wellbeing and may contribute up to 50% of someone’s wellness. While in normal times, we encourage older adults to attend senior centers, adult day care centers, or other places where people congregate, we’re now advising them to stay home to prevent their exposure to COVID-19.”

Dr. Anmolsingh encourages older adults to stay in constant contact with family. If that’s not possible, reach out to a buddy and arrange to call one another on a routine basis.

“We’ve been reaching out to many of our patients to ensure they’re okay,” she says. “One of my many precious patients mentioned, ‘At least I know someone cares about me.’ Our office call made a world of difference in her mood and perspective. By reaching out to others, you are providing them with a lifeline.”

The loneliness caused by social distancing, combined with news coverage of COVID-19, the economy, and shrinking investments, can be very discouraging, anxiety-provoking, or even depressing. While it may be tempting to keep the TV on your favorite news channel all day long, we encourage our patients to limit news watching to a half-hour in the morning and the evening, she says.

“Rather than being glued to the latest news, take advantage of this time to pursue your hobbies or stay in shape by watching fitness videos on YouTube,” she suggests. “Focus on something positive and stay in touch with loved ones. Together, we’ll get through this challenging time.”

 As we stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Roopa Anmolsingh of St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates reminds us to keep older adults socially connected by following these tips:

  • Be in frequent contact with older friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of your community, especially if they live alone.
  • Offer to help them install and use apps like Skype, Facetime, and Whatsapp. Face-to-face communication is best but can be challenging for many techno-adverse older adults. Voice-to-voice is second best, so pick up the phone and give them a call.
  • Offer to pick something up for them, such as prescriptions or groceries.
  • As long as you’re healthy, drop off notes, children’s artwork, baked goods, small gifts, or flowers from your garden, at their doorstep to let them know you’re thinking of them.

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