How to Help Seniors Pull Through the Pandemic
A closer look into the overlooked generation.
Posted Jan 21, 2021
Today's guest blogger is Brian Wallace from nowsourcing.com.
Andy Rooney once famously said: "The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person." It’s one thing to have natural gifts and learned behaviors, but there is a whole other level of understanding with a lifetime of wisdom.
Seniors Are a Growing Age Demographic
Seniors will represent a full 73 million Americans by 2030. And the demographic is growing: for the first time, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history by 2034. As we age, we have real concerns that we are not as free as we once were. We may lose friends and family members and eventually find ourselves isolated—even if there are still friends and family surrounding us. A lack of autonomy is a very real situation as our elders age in place, and often age into nursing home facilities.
Caring Means the World to Seniors
Nursing homes have never been such a critical need to society at large. It’s all the more sad to see when there is a lack of taking care of seniors in nursing homes and home care systems. Caring—while it may sound like a simple topic and a basic human need—is seemingly heaven-sent to those that are no longer as mobile as they once were—but caring alone does not singlehandedly rise to the unprecedented challenge of our times. The coronavirus pandemic has not been all too kind to one of our most vulnerable populations—with a big killer being loneliness. Senior citizens represent one of the highest age brackets for suicide. Why? People crave attention and communication with other people, so when a facility is in lockdown, it is incredibly important to keep up a level of care—and in a truly caring environment.
Technology Is Coming to the Aid of Seniors
Technology is also a lifesaver. Consider the ability to check in on our aged loved ones, sometimes through voice-first enabled smart speakers. Advanced innovations in telehealth and telemedicine with in-facility capabilities are a must in today’s complex minefield of lockdowns. In-house dialysis, for instance, has massively reduced nursing home resident infections and hospitalizations. There has even been some next-level technology in the realm of helping patients recover from traumatic brain injury through virtual reality systems.
It is clear that seniors will need both community and modern technologies. The nexus point of caring and tech is surely a step in the right direction to build a better tomorrow.
What Can You Do?
Here are some actionable steps you can take to brighten a senior’s quality of life from Points of Life:
1. Visit an assisted living facility—be sure to check COVID policies, but even a virtual visit will brighten someone’s day.
2. Assist with housework or yard work—a green thumb goes a long way!
3. Teach computer and internet skills—this will impart important life skills to help them communicate with their loved ones.
4. Help with errands and transportation—especially with lockdowns, be sure to check out special times reserved for seniors.
5. Participate in an intergenerational service project—help seniors give back to one another.