A lot of people may be stressed out as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This stress can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in seniors and caregivers. However, there are ways to cope with this stress which makes you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Below are some tips and suggestions from the CDC that you might find useful.
Do you have stress symptoms?
The symptoms of stress could include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Ways to cope with stress
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate .
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs .
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Try to sit for 5-15 minutes in areas within your living space that provide sunshine. This can improve your overall mood, help you get better sleep, and make you feel good in general
Know the facts to help reduce stress
Sharing the facts about COVID-19, understanding the risk to yourself and the people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. When you share accurate information about COVID-19, you can help make people feel less stressed and make a connection with them.
Support your loved ones
Check in with your loved ones often. Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Consider connecting with loved ones by:
- Mailing letters or cards
- Text messages
- Video chat
- Social media
Keeping your loved ones safe
- Know what medications your loved one is taking. Try to help them have a 4-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications. And see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food (canned foods, dried beans, pasta) to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, and speak with facility administrators or staff over the phone. Ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Take care of your own emotional health. Caring for a loved one can take an emotional toll, especially during an outbreak like COVID-19. There are ways to support yourself.
Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit family or friends who are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Use virtual communication to keep in touch to support your loved one and keep them safe.
Here at Blooming Health, we’re looking to learn more about how caregivers and older adults are dealing with isolation. If you have a moment, please fill out our survey. You will automatically be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card.