Taking care of the elderly during the pandemic


In this photo taken on Thursday, March 19, 2020, Sien Lagae, works on a mouth mask, meant to help protect from the spread of COVID-19, on her sewing machine at home in Torhout, Belgium. (Sien Lagae via AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Department of Health is offering helpful pieces of advice for those taking care of the senior members of our community.

Here are the points made by the Health Department:

Social connection and meaningful communication:

  • The at-risk elderly have been told to isolate as much as possible. Prioritize finding ways for them to connect with their children and grandchildren so as to avoid extreme loneliness. Provide technological assistance and create a support system around the elderly individual so they feel connected.

Staying active:

  • Encourage the individual to be both physically and mentally active. Engage them in regular physical exercise and find mentally stimulating activities to do regularly.
  • Discover ways for the elderly to be helpful to others. A sense of purpose and meaning is a great remedy for anxiety and isolation.

Do not forget about your own self-care!

  • Be compassionate toward yourself. Take breaks when you need them and rotate responsibilities with others while practicing your own positive mental health strategies.
  • Offer to do things for the elderly that will be mutually beneficial. Take their dog for a walk. Read a book or magazine with them. Try doing a puzzle or simple craft project.

Matilda’s Law: Provides additional social distancing guidelines for senior citizens

  • Do not go to the homes of your relatives or homes with multiple people in them. Limit visits in your own home to immediate family members or close friends for emergency purposes only. Any visitors to your home should be screened for fever before being allowed to enter.
  • Everyone in the home of a senior or vulnerable person (including the vulnerable person themselves) should wear a mask for the duration of the visit.
  • Stay home unless necessary to obtain supplies

(Information above courtesy of the Erie County Department of Health)

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