The new coronavirus outbreak has us locked inside our homes, self-isolating ourselves from the people around us. It has been months since it first appeared, and we still do not know much about it. This has caused anxiety and depression to become an everyday thing for many of us, especially for the most vulnerable among us – the elderly.
Self-isolation can have quite negative physical and mental effects. According to scientific research published in 2017, some of the negative physical effects include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes type 2, abnormal activity of the immune system, endocrine system, etc. Depression, anxiety, sleep issues, and stress, on the other hand, are the negative effects on our mental health. It is now up to us to help them the best that we can. In the following article, we will explore some of the most effective strategies that can be used during these times to make the elderly feel better, less anxious, and less depressed.
It is now up to us to help them the best that we can. In the following article, we will explore some of the most effective strategies that can be used during these times to make the elderly feel better, less anxious, and less depressed.
1. Treat the existing sleep problems
Depression can cause and worsen already-present sleep issues such as difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, oversleeping, and daytime sleepiness. Any sleep issue requires proper treatment and attention, much like any other issue related to either physical or mental health.
Limiting the time that they spend getting informed about the new COVID-19 is a must since this can cause them to become overwhelmed and anxious, causing their depression symptoms to worsen. Not that informing themselves is not important. On the contrary, it can help them improve their mental state by being informed of the current situation, but it is up to us to limit that time in order to prevent having any negative side-effects.
Recommending them to take a hot shower before bed or serving them with a nice cup of chamomile tea can do them some good as well. And if needed, proper medication can always be prescribed as well.
2. Recommend taking up a new hobby
Recommending them to take a new hobby can help take their mind off what is going on for at least a couple of hours a day. Work with what you have and evaluate your patient’s physical and mental health so that you can recommend them to the best options that you have.
Introduce them to an activity that is new and fun for them, such as writing letters. Or maybe they would be more interested in going for a walk. Getting them a fluffy companion to accompany them during these difficult times is a great idea as well. A 2016 study has shown that for older adults, having a hobby and a “purpose in life” can help improve their overall health and even increase their life expectancy.
3. Introduce them to a well-balanced diet
A healthy diet can prevent different chronic diseases, many of which target the elderly as the most vulnerable group of people. During this pandemic, all elderly needs to continue following a healthy, well-balanced diet, which will help them to stabilize their immune system and lower the risk of this and any other health issue.
Eating a variety of fruits and veggies throughout the day, drinking 6-8 glasses of water, limiting their sugar and alcohol intake, and eating whole foods and protein, are only some of the methods that can be used to improve one’s diet. Do not forget that obesity, too, is a chronic disease and, as such, increases the likelihood of getting affected by a severe form of COVID-19. Clean eating is what will help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of getting affected by COVID-19.
4. Encourage to stay physically active
Physical activity is very important in any period of our life. It helps us maintain healthy and happy. The same rule applies to elderly patients who often forget about the importance of the physical activity. Physical activity is also a great method to fight depression at any age, according to science. It will help them be in a better mood, feel more energized, solve any sleep issues, and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases that we know to be so common within elderly patients.
Introduce them to some physical activity options that are suitable to their current fitness and condition. Some great examples are Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, walking, swimming, and low-impact workouts that can be done from the comfort of their own home. Tai Chi and yoga have many scientifically proven beneficial effects, specifically for the elderly.
5. Seek professional help when needed
And last, but not least important is professional help. Depression and anxiety are not to be underestimated, and they, like any other physical or mental health issue, require proper treatment as well. There is only so much that a person can do on their own, but a professional knows the secrets and tricks when it comes to treating these serious health issues.
Once again, technology is here to help us when we need it the most, and so, you are encouraged to take advantage of the various telemedicine services offered online. Let us introduce ourselves – we are the Gagne Behavioral Health Care, a center that specializes in offering telemedicine services to the elderly who are struggling with issues related to depression, anxiety, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more.
Our professionals promise to help you overcome any of these issues by offering you their telepsychiatry services. And all of that from the comfort of your own home. All that you have to do is call us and schedule your telepsychiatry session and feel as you fill better with every next session.
Depression is almost inevitable during these times of self-isolation due to the new COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems that it is most common among the most vulnerable among us – the elderly patients. It is up to us to introduce them to some activities that are meant to fight the depression symptoms the best that they can, and if not, then we encourage you to accept the professional help offered through a single call over at our Gagne Behavioral Health Care center through our telepsychiatry services.