It goes without saying that, on the whole, technology is more readily adopted and easily navigated by younger generations—those who were born into the computer age and grew up with smartphones at their fingertips. But it’s also true that, now more than ever, technology has emerged as essential to people spanning every age group, in one way or another. Thanks to ongoing advancements in mobile technology and user-friendly interfaces, seniors are quickly becoming a much larger demographic of users.
If you’ve been keeping up with our latest series on social isolation, you understand that the senior population faces increased risk to their physical, mental and, emotional well-being during our current global health crisis. Part 1 of this series introduced some of the triggers that can cause an unhealthy level of loneliness for you or the senior in your life, while Part 2 offered specific ideas for prevention and mitigation. In this final installment, we’re delving into the critical role technology plays in fighting the isolation felt by so many seniors throughout this time of social distancing.
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In our last post, Social Isolation Series, Part 1: Identifying Triggers for Loneliness in Seniors, we introduced the need to address some of the most pressing challenges facing seniors during the current global health crisis and widespread isolation measures. With acute loneliness endangering both the mental and physical health of older adults, it’s important to focus on getting the information you and your loved ones need to navigate this difficulty effectively.
In this unprecedented time of concern that stems from a global health crisis, the need (and, in many cases, the mandate) to self-isolate and practice strict social distancing has taken a major toll on mental health for people in every category of age, gender, social status and geography. We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, and for many, the most prominent effect has been an overwhelming feeling of loneliness.
July 24, 2020 At UMH, our top priority is the safety and well-being of the residents who live in our communities while finding new and creative ways to keep them active, engaged and connected with each other and their loved ones during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirements of social distancing and PPE do not get in the way of us living our mission and continuing to focus on relationships and encouraging our residents to live lives full of meaning and purpose. Important Changes In order to keep COVID-19 at bay, all UMH communities conduct Infection Control Rounding each day to monitor the goings-on in the community to ensure that staff and residents alike are adhering to proper safety measures. Every person who enters one of our buildings is required to have their temperature taken and complete a Health and Travel Questionnaire. An Executive Order from the office of Governor Lamont mandates weekly COVID-19 testing of all nursing home patients and staff. It is mandated for assisted living staff who have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. All testing will continue until no new onset positives are found for at least 14 days since the most recent positive result. As new information is learned about the virus, we consult our team of clinical experts and adhere to the advice from the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and make adjustments to our protocols as necessary. Resident Life Our communities are offering many programs throughout the day for residents to participate in either virtually or in person with proper social distancing. Residents are enjoying exercise classes, musical entertainment, word & trivia games, themed snack & traveling happy hour carts, fashion shows, and of course, Bingo. Residents are encouraged to visit with each other and take walks around our beautiful property while wearing their face masks and practicing proper social distancing. Families are now enjoying outdoor visits with their loved ones in areas specifically dedicated to this purpose. Maintaining emotional connections with loved ones is critical for good mental health, especially now. We have begun the process of opening the Dining Rooms in some of our communities. Residents continue to have the option of receiving top-notch room service with healthy and delicious entrées and snacks, delivered to their apartment with a smile by our staff. Additionally, some residents have opted to take advantage of our outdoor dining venues. On-site physicians and other care providers such as podiatrists and therapists are now permitted in community spaces that accommodate the need for social distancing. This is a great benefit to our residents who have concerns about going to medical appointments off-site. We have assisted residents with telehealth appointments and will continue to do so as they request this service. We are offering transportation to medical appointments for those requiring an in-person visit. Some communities have also begun offering scenic drives for a change of scenery. We are continuing to work with prospective residents and their families by conducting virtual tours and moving new residents into our communities. Please reach out to a member of our marketing team if you would like to schedule your tour. We appreciate all the kind and supportive words from our residents, families and friends and ask for your continued understanding as we navigate this evolving situation. Wishing you good health, David M. Lawlor President & CEO, United Methodist Homes March 19, 2020 We understand you may be concerned about the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and how it may impact the UMH communities. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our top priority. We are taking all the recommended precautions and appreciate your help and understanding as we manage the risks presented by COVID-19. Please know we receive regular guidance from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), United States Center for Medicare Services (“CMS”) and the Connecticut Department of Health (“DPH”).
As a primary caregiver for an aging parent or loved one, it’s easy to get so caught up in meeting their needs and managing all of the responsibilities that you neglect your own mental and physical well-being. The demands of being a caregiver can become extremely overwhelming, taking a toll on your mind, body and emotional state. Without proper awareness and a balanced approach to this lifestyle, you may find yourself suffering the effects of caregiver burnout.
Feeling like the senior in your life has slowly slumped into a daily rut? It’s certainly common for elderly adults to develop a routine that eventually dulls their spirit and negatively impacts their physical and mental health. But there’s good news: You can introduce a whole host of stimulating activities to help improve your aging loved one’s quality of life.
People aged 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke or develop coronary heart disease and heart failure, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging (NIH). Heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the United States, and the NIH indicates that it’s a major cause of disability, which can limit activity and erode quality of life for millions of seniors.
It is all too common for seniors to experience feelings of sadness and loneliness during the cold and dark winter months. If you or an aging loved one are finding it difficult to overcome the winter blues this season, you are certainly not alone. With less daylight, declining temperatures and the dangers associated with getting out during periods of snow and ice, it’s no wonder so many seniors undergo the effects of cabin fever and other mood-depleting factors.
It is never too late to help your aging loved one focus on their cognitive health and improve their brain function. While it’s certainly true that age plays a major role in the decline of memory and other cognitive abilities, studies show there are proven ways to work on maintaining and enhancing these capabilities at any age.
As temperatures drop and colder weather settles in for the season, it can be easy to slip into a state of boredom. For seniors, in particular, it’s important to head off the winter blues with an array of enjoyable events and activities. Staying engaged and active is a critical component of maintaining positive health and well-being in the later years of life.