How to Support a Senior Loved One During Social Distancing

Senior Wearing Mask

As we all know, social distancing is an essential public health measure designed to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Although necessary, social distancing has changed our lives and created difficulties for all of us. However, no members of society have had to deal with more challenges than our vulnerable senior population.

Even before social distancing became part of our daily lives, many seniors suffered from loneliness and isolation, which have serious health consequences of their own. Gerontologists say that isolation can cause depression, a compromised immune system and other health problems in seniors, which place them at even greater risk for the coronavirus.

The bottom line? During this period of enforced social distancing, senior loved ones need our love and support more than ever.

Says Stacey Houseknecht, NHA, CTRS, Administrator at Saunders House in Wynnewood, PA, “The good news is that there are many ways in which families can provide physical and emotional support to the seniors in their lives while also practicing social distancing. Similarly, many of the services and activities offered at Saunders House for our residents reflect the kinds of support seniors need most at this time.”


7 Ways You Can Support a Senior Loved One During Social Distancing

Being separated from a senior loved one can produce both anxiety and guilt, but there are several ways you can show your support while social distancing guidelines are in place. For example:

  • Support them by staying in touch – Just hearing from you regularly can do wonders for a senior who is feeling lonely and isolated. Therefore, try to check in with them daily by phone. Or, better yet, if they have an iPhone and/or a computer, you can use video chat apps such as FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to make virtual visits. Ask your senior loved one how they’re doing, share your latest news and discuss family plans for after the pandemic.


  • Support their need for food, medications and home supplies –You can help your senior lovedby arranging forgroceries, prescriptions and household items to be delivered directly to their door. As a result of the pandemic, there are now many food delivery and mail-order pharmacy services available that you can contact online or by phone. Also, restaurant delivery services are an excellent option if the senior in your life doesn’t feel like cooking.


  • Support their health and well-being –It’s important not to overlook your senior loved one’s health needs during this time of social distancing. That includes their mental and emotional health, so be sure to monitor their mood and check for signs of depression, as well as asking about their physical health.


Also, find out if your loved one has any doctor’s appointments scheduled. If so, you can call the doctor’s office to find out how to best proceed. Medicare recently expanded its telemedicine coverage so that seniors can use tech apps like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to interact with doctors from the safety of their homes during the pandemic.


It might be a good time to invest in a medical alert system so that while your senior loved one is alone, they can get help immediately if they need it.


  • Support their need to stay active –Helping your senior loved one to keep fit is also important for their health. If they are able to exercise safely, let them know that there are many age-appropriate videos on YouTube that they can watch and work out with in their home. For example, the National Institute on Agingwebsite provides a variety of exercise options for seniors, including this recommended 15-minute sample at-home workout video.


  • Support their need for some fun –Break up the monotony for your senior loved one with somemuch-needed familyfun. You can use a video chat app to play virtual games together. As an example, a Random Trivia Generator is available for free download on the Apple iPhone that can provide hours of trivia fun. Your loved one can also use their computer for entertainment. They can access a variety of free movies, TV shows and music on YouTube, NOXX, Vumoo and other such sites.


  • Support their need for accurate information –There has been much misinformation and fearmongering during this pandemic. Therefore, ask your senior loved one if they have questions or concerns and make sure they are getting accurate information. For example, you can refer them to the CDC website for the latest news on the coronavirus.


  • Support them with your love – Most importantly, let your senior family member know that they are loved and that you’re always there for them – even when you are apart. In addition to contacting them regularly, you can also show your support by sending them items you know they’ll enjoy. Some examples include cards from grandchildren, new books from favorite authors, candy and puzzles. They’ll appreciate the thought, the support and the reminder that you care.


Please click here for information on our efforts at Saunders House to keep our residents, care providers, support staff and visitors safe.We also encourage you to call us with any general questions you might have and to stay current on a variety of senior health and caregiver topics by viewing the latest articles on our website.


We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “How to Support a Senior Loved One During Social Distancing,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.


Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitationtraditional nursing care, restorative carememory carerespite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.


For more information on Saunders House, our short-term rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at 610.658.5100 or contact us online.

Voted Best of the Main Line 2018 by Loyal Readers

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

 Facebook logoTwitter LogoYouTube Logo