During these days of Covid-19 with so much isolation and self-quarantining being required of our beloved seniors, it’s crucial for us to know about, consider and combat the extraordinary health risks associated with loneliness and isolation.
Scientists say loneliness can pose as serious a health risk as smoking 15 cigarettes or drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day — every day!
Fortunately, we have some simple solutions that I’ve been recommending to my clients even before this virus told us we had to stay apart from those we love – no hugging or kissing Grandma, no visiting unless we are outside, 6 feet apart and wearing smile-hiding masks. How can you and I undermine the destructiveness of isolation for those we love without endangering ourselves or them?
We can use our cellphones to “crush their isolation” with visual applications, like Skype and FaceTime, and technologies like Zoom. Whether you have frequent brief “visits,” or weekly “family reunions,” you can do so much to interfere with the loneliness that’s been so sad for us all these last few months.
Just imagine the joy you’ll see on your 89-year old Father’s face when he gets the face-call from your 8-year old on his first 2-wheeled bike ride, yelling out: “Hey, Grandpa!! Look at me by myself!” Or enjoy the satisfaction of literally raising your newborn baby to see her new family across country – I’ve had several people report this having happened these months!
It’s not the same thing as being there, for sure. But we at POP (ParentingOurParents.org) strongly urge you to “play your part” and connect with your seniors, family members and your old friends. Then notice how uplifted you feel from sharing yourself! Use the best of 21st century technology to harness the connection that’s so crucial to feeling good and living a healthy life.
And online you can also access Virtual Reality programs, developed to stimulate memories, lower depression and create community even amongst those with dementia!
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