Beginning in March 2020, the entire world underwent remarkable changes to our daily lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many elderly residents, it has meant many changes, particularly staying at home to prevent exposure to the virus. Even for those who’ve been vaccinated, the ongoing variants of the virus make some hesitant to be around others who may spread the virus.
Two Years and Counting
But think of how this virus affects older people — those who have been cloistered at home for two years. As well as those who do try to go about their lives and go outside their home. Being around groups of people or in a vibrant setting may be overwhelming. Even a trip to the grocery store with all the bright colors and large variety of items, not to mention other shoppers nearby, may be more stimulation than that person has had in a long time. Some stores and offices buildings now have a one-way entrances and separate, one-way exits. These may be confusing to the elderly.
As you talk with parents, neighbors or friends who’ve been largely at home during the pandemic, encourage them to go slowly in re-engaging with the outside world. Perhaps it would be helpful if a family member or caregiver can accompany the senior for their initial trips to the doctor or to other appointments to help familiarize them with changes.
As you accompany your senior family member out of their home, pay attention to their body language. Are they more stressed or anxious than normal? Ask them how they’re coping with more activity and people nearby. It may be that after a few short trips out of their home, they adjust and again enjoy excursions and interactions in public settings. But if it is too overwhelming and stressful, it may be a sign that aging is progressing. If the senior is not comfortable being out of their environment, don’t push it. The pandemic has been awfully hard on all people, particularly the elderly. If your family member has been living alone at home, it may also be reaching a point where he or she would benefit from assisted living for more daily help and more social contact with others.
Help is Available
Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the end of the pandemic. While we try to get back to more normal activities, do be aware of the impact this time inside has had on the elderly in your life. If we can provide information or resources, or if it’s time to include assisted living care in a small, home-like environment, please let us know. At BeeHive Homes, our mission is to care for your family with compassion and kindness in a safe and loving environment.