Although the CDC and local officials are calling for residents of Massachusetts to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, there are many activities that caregivers can do with seniors to reduce anxiety and make their days fulfilling. Discover five activities to support an elderly loved one at home during this unusual time.
1) Baking and cooking
Cooking and baking can help seniors maintain their sense of self and purpose during an uncertain time. With grocery shopping not a safe option for seniors and people with underlying conditions, it is important to develop ways to make the food already in the home as functional as possible.
There are many sites online that make cooking and baking simple with ingredients your senior may already have. Spoon University offers mouth-watering recipes that only require three or fewer ingredients. While Myfridgefood.com provides a list of recipes based on what ingredients you have in your refrigerator or cabinet to make cooking easy and accessible.
Regular exercise has been shown to provide a great number of benefits for seniors. Well documented improvements in cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine, and psychological health are some of the benefits associated with both strength and cardiovascular movements.
Fortunately, being confined to home does not make it impossible for seniors to exercise both their body and mind. Depending on your senior’s ability, there are a wide variety of exercise options available online. Meditation is an effective way to relieve anxiety during an uncertain time. Headspace.com is offering free mediations focused on relieving stress. You can also find meditations on YouTube.com, similar to this 3-minute meditation. Get your senior to move his or her body at home with chair yoga classes on YouTube.com.
3) Discover Local and National Treasures
Many museums and parks are offering free virtual tours and videos. The New England Aquarium is posting daily presentations exploring topics such as shark feedings and rehabilitating sea turtles. The National Parks Foundation is providing a view of the great outdoors from the safety of your home through virtual tours, 3-D views and live cams, which allow you to get up close and personal to parks such as the Crater Lake National Park, Channel Islands National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.
4) Explore Music
Help your senior deal with stress and anxiety through the power of song. Studies have shown that along with dopamine and serotonin, oxytocin is a hormone released while singing and listening to music which can alleviate stress and anxiety. Someone in their 90s might be brought back to their youth with the songs of Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, and Doris Day. Rock and Roll back to the 60s with these hits that might resonate with seniors in their 70s or 80s.
5) Virtually Connect with Loved Ones
Staying healthy by social distancing doesn’t mean that seniors are unable to connect with loved ones. There is no shortage of applications to choose from to communicate based on your access and technological ability. If your smartphone, tablet or computer has a camera you most likely have an application already installed to quickly connect with your family and friends. If you have an Apple device, look for the FaceTime app, while Android users should look for Google Duo. If you don’t have either of these options, you can download applications such as, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom.