Professionals who work with seniors have long realized that social isolation leads to cognitive decline.
Widespread awareness of this significant healthcare issue has increased due to COVID-19. Our clients are noticing it with their loved ones, and here at Hurley Elder Care Law, we are noticing it with our own families. What are the options to increase social interaction, while staying safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
Everyone who has an aging loved one should make a point to call them regularly.
Phone calls are great but instead of having the same conversation each time about the weather or the news, ask them specific questions about their life that make them think. You can ask broad and thoughtful questions like “Where were you when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon?” Or “ How did you feel about the Vietnam War?” Or fun things like “Did you like the Beatles when they first came to America?” Get creative with your questions. You may be surprised with what you learn.
Technology makes staying in touch easy, personalized and for the most part it’s free!
Consider connecting via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. If your loved one has a smart phone or computer, help them get the technology set up—it’ll be worth it! For those who are comfortable with technology, Facebook and other types of social media are another great way to keep track of friends and family.
If technology is not an option, there are plenty of other ideas to keep people sharp and engaged. Puzzles, painting, board games, and gardening are ideal. All these activities require focus and concentration and can help slow cognitive decline.
For those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia consider Life Review or Reminiscences therapy
It’s a great way to help your loved one remember places and faces from their past. You can do this with a trifold project board, poster board, or even a scrapbook. It can also be written as a book or short story or put together as a video for your friends and family to enjoy. Think of it as a timeline of your life. Reminiscences therapy can also be very beneficial and stimulating from those who have cognitive impairment and may be suffering from short term memory issues, as they will be more confident discussing their past because they likely remember it better.
For more on this topic and other creative ideas, check out this link https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-caregiving-for-the-elderly