Coping Strategies for Elderly Parents in COVID-19: How to Care for Aging Parents

We’re all learning new ways to cope in the pandemic age of Coronavirus. But coping strategies for elderly parents come with their unique set of challenges. Among them, social isolation, vulnerability to disease, and anxieties. The tips below will help you care for your aging parents to help them better cope with the current state of the world.  

coping strategies for elderly parents -- daily phone calls

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about how to help your older parents cope with the pandemic, as follows:

Best Ways To Help Your Older Parents Cope In the Age of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has affected people of all ages and backgrounds. 

However, it’s true that some people have been more impacted than others. Take people in retirement age, for example. They were the most at risk of becoming severely ill due to Covid, and, as a result, there was more anxiety in that demographic than others. 

We’re still not out of the pandemic, and while anxiety is less than what it was, it’s still very much there. 

This means that we should put just as much work into managing our parents’ state as we did at the beginning of the pandemic.

But what can be done to help the elderly during the coronavirus disease pandemic?

Let’s take a look.

Stay in Contact with the Elderly

The world is opening up a little more compared with last year. 

But there are still plenty of older people who are reluctant to go outside. And while this may be a good approach for their physical health, it can have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.

Loneliness among the elderly is already an issue, and it was made even worse by the pandemic. The effects of social isolation on eldery parents is heartbreaking.

So, make an extra effort to stay in contact with your parents. If you or they feel more comfortable at a safe distance, then a daily phone call takes no time at all. That can make all the difference in helping to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Elderly and Covid-19 | Limit Their Risks

There’s no way to completely avoid Covid other than to lock yourself away from all people. And that’s probably not a realistic or mentally-well option. 

Of course, you should follow CDC guidance on the ways to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus. That includes things by now we are well aware of based on CDC Guidelines, such as:

  • Social distancing
  • Avoiding large gatherings and crowded indoor settings
  • Wearing a mask
  • Using hand sanitizer and practicing good handwashing
  • Disinfecting living spaces
  • At-home testing and PCR testing if you have COVID symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive
  • And of course, getting vaccinated and boosted, if and when your eligible

For the most up-to-date guidance, you’ll also want to check the CDC Guidelines for elderly here

If one or both of your parents get sick with COVID-19, you may want to look into getting (Cleveland) monoclonal therapy. This innovative treatment helps reduce the viral load on the body, decreases the chances of developing complications, and can help them them recover faster.

As such, it’s a good idea to make sure that your parents are in the best position possible to avoid the virus, too.

For example, are they living in the best place? Some nursing homes are not as good at sanitation as others. 

You may also consider buying them specialized equipment, so you know they have an extra level of protection.

Be sure to ask them how they are feeling, physically and otherwise. That way, any potential symptoms aren’t overlooked, and you’ll have some peace of mind knowing they are well.

coping strategies for elderly

Lessening Anxiety in the Elderly

Nobody wants to see their parents living with anxiety. 

It’s understandable that some older people would have concerns about the virus. The psychological impact of Covid-19 on elderly people is real. This is especially true if they have the news on all day long.

So, it’s important to help them develop a coping strategy. For elderly people, ruminating on general fears and anxieties becomes a habit.

First, you can suggest they limit their time listening, reading, and watching stories about the pandemic. While it’s important to be informed, hyper-focusing on the news all day long is not healthy. 

Instead, perhaps they could watch the news twice a day, and fill the rest of their time with favorite movies, audio books, reading, puzzles, or hobbies. Try to get them to understand how important it is to focus on other things.

You can also help your parents by talking to them about the facts of the virus. For instance, while people may be spooked by the rise of the omicron variant, early studies have shown that it’s less likely to result in severe illness, especially among the vaccinated. 

Naturally, none of us wants to get the virus, but it’s also not healthy to live in fear. Hopefully, you can offer some comfort knowing that you and your loved ones have taken all the precautionary measures. And then reinforce their need to enjoy the rest of their day whenever possible.

4. …But Talk About Something Else

Of course, you can overdo it with all the talk about their health and coronavirus. At some point, it’s best to just talk about something else. It’s safe to say that we won’t return to any notion of normality until we’re not talking about the virus all the time. 

So, don’t use all your time with your aging parents talking about covid and its effects and so forth. Use it to have fun with each other, instead. 

Make an effort to brainstorm positive events or memories you could talk about before you go into a conversation. Then, you will be changing the focus from the pandemic, and hopefully imparting some happy moments into their day. Finding positive things to think about is an important coping strategy for elderly people.

If you can visit with your elderly parents in person, wouldn’t they much rather spend the evening playing games, talking, and all around having a fun time instead of discussing the small details of the virus? Believe it or not, engaging in fun things is an important part of developing coping strategies for elderly parents. 

Everyone could do with having a little more fun at the moment, and that includes your aging parents — and you. 

Final Thoughts on Coping Strategies for Elderly Parents

Hopefully, these tips will help you encourage your aging parents to better cope with the world’s current situation. The elderly are particularly vulnerable, not only physically, but emotionally. Taking these tips to heart will be a positive step in the right direction.

Need more help? Click here to learn more about how you can nurture your relationship with your aging parent(s).

Photo credit: Edward Jenner (Pexels)

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