How to Provide Support to Seniors During a Pandemic

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly changed all facets of our lives, especially for people over 65. According to the CDC (1), our elderly citizens are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 because our immune system is naturally lower when we're older. Also, many seniors have pre-existing illnesses like diabetes or cancer that complicate the situation. There’s no better time for us to make a difference in our senior citizens' lives than during this pandemic, and here are three ways to support our elders.

Encourage Seniors to Embrace Technology

As we practice social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus, technology has become our most reliable way to stay in touch with our loved ones. Smartphones come with excellent accessibility features and video chat apps designed for simplicity, so seniors will be surprised by how easy it is to connect their family through video calls rather than voice only. Additionally, many healthcare and hospice care providers are integrating telehealth into their practice to provide care for patients without needing in-clinic visits, so the more our seniors learn to use digital technology, the better their health outcomes will be.

Find PPE Alternatives for Seniors and Palliative Caregivers

For those suffering from conditions like Parkinson's disease or hearing, visual, and mobility impairments, the use of masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment is a challenge. Caregivers also find it difficult to provide hands-on care when they're restricted from physical interactions with our seniors. Simple solutions like wearing a colorful cloth mask over your N95 mask can put seniors at ease. Being keen on sanitizing allows a safe interaction with seniors who may have difficulty wearing gloves or masks.

Empathize with Our Seniors

Our elders are always worrying about all kinds of things like their own health, the wellbeing of their friends and loved ones, and uncertainties about the future. Many have lost their peers and friends to the coronavirus, and grief, anxiety, and depression can further compromise their health. Even when we cannot be physically present, we can always offer our time to listen to their fears and frustrations about the pandemic. This is an incredibly difficult time for our seniors because they haven't experienced anything like COVID-19 in their lifetime. Their mental health can be greatly affected if we don't offer the support they need to stay healthy. 

These are some great ways to support our seniors during this pandemic, and if you can go the extra mile to offer PPE, donate food and blood as well, every little bit helps to care for senior citizens. Serving the areas of Los Angeles, Toluca Lake, San Fernando Valley, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, and more, you can contact the team at Westlake Village Hospice for additional information regarding senior care.

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Westlake Village Hospice, Inc provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Arleta, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Burbank, Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Glenoaks, Granada HIlls, Hansen Hills, Hidden Hills, La Crescenta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, MIssion Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Sunland, Studio City, Sylmar, Tarzana, Toluca Lake, Toluca Terrace, Tujunga, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Vergudo, West Hills, West Toluca Lake, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.
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