Centers Solutions – COVID EDITION: Aging in a Pandemic

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MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24), Depression, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and isolation from family are just a few things our elderly population feels during this pandemic.

This week’s segment of Centers Solutions – COVID EDITION focuses on how to protect our elderly community who are the most vulnerable to the virus.

Many are still in isolation as the case numbers continue to rise at dangerous levels. Our experts from Centers for Children and Families offer additional tips on how to reach out to your loved ones and signs to look for, to help seniors in your life cope while in isolation. 

According to Centers, COVID-19 can have significant negative impacts on the mental health of our aging population. 

  • New illness concerns
  • End of life fears
  • Food Insecurity
  • Transportation
  • Health Care
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Loneliness/Isolation if Living Alone
  • Worrying about the basic needs because of “Panic Buying”
  • Fear of the virus spreading in the nursing home or assisted living facility
  • Isolation from family, or with family (discord or abuse)

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There are six steps you can follow, according to our experts, to help our Seniors cope during this difficult time. 

  1. Practice physical distancing but not social isolation. 
    • Stay connected through technology, whether through social media, Facetime, Zoom, interactive photo frames or take advantage of apps on devices for those who have trouble hearing. You can also schedule weekly phone calls, write handwritten letters or mail photos. 
  2. Help your loved one find a project to occupy their time.
    • Organizing Family Photos, Gardening, Recipe Sharing, etc.
  3. Postpone unnecessary doctor visits, but be in touch with the doctor. 
  4. Have regular “check-ins.”
    • When you call your loved one, ask if they are eating? When they last ate? Are they hydrating? Are they getting enough sleep? Have they gone for a walk recently? Are they avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol? It’s important to stay active, whether going for a walk or a jog, trying to keep a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, or even trying an online exercise.
  5. Make a Plan and stick to it.
    • The best thing you can do to help ease anxiety is to develop a plan and share that plan with your loved one. Maybe give them a calendar of when you are stopping by or calling, so they know when to expect you. Also, designate an emergency contact, have medical emergency information easily accessible for them, and stock up on groceries. 
  6. Check up on their mental health.
    • Give them a number to call for emergencies if they are feeling worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness, and thoughts of suicide. They can always call 9-1-1 or the Mental Health EMERGENCY 24 HR Crisis Hotline: 844-420-3964

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If your loved one is forgetful or is struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, here are some tips to overcome those challenges. 

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Along with the weekly Centers Solutions podcast, the team at Centers is also working on a special podcast called Voice from 2020. The goal of the project is to create a time capsule of stories from this challenging year.

Whether funny or painful, the team is looking for submissions of recorded stories. For instructions, click here. If you have additional questions, you can email msaiz@centerstx.org.

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Centers Solutions: COVID EDITION podcast: : Aging in a Pandemic (Available Friday)

For more information, contact Centers for Children and Families.

  • Midland: 3701 Andrews Highway | Midland, TX 79703 | (432) 570-1084
  • Odessa: 4241 Tanglewood Ln. | Odessa, TX 79762 | (432) 580-7006
  • Website: www.CentersTX.org https://centerstx.org

Through July, Centers for Children and Families are offering free sessions for all Health Care Workers and First Responders fighting Covid-19.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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