How To Support Your Older Loved Ones During Lockdown
Today on the Independent Oxford blog, Jessica Silver from Indie Oxford member ElWell shares her advice on helping your older loved ones when you can’t physically see them during the coronavirus lockdown.
If someone had told me at the beginning of March that my mum would be tuning in to a Facebook Live, I would have laughed. But then lockdown happened.
Four weeks in and I’m amazed at how resilient we all are (and how well my parents have taken to technology!) Not seeing my older loved ones is especially hard, and I know we’re all feeling like this. So I’ve put together some advice to help you support them from afar.
Check in on them – but not too much!
Remember when you were a teenager and your parents were constantly asking what you were doing? Well, now it’s like the reverse is happening! Let your parents know that you’re there for them and yes, ring them, but make sure they also have breathing space to process what’s going on and find their own sense of normality and routine during this time. Checking in on them is likely coming from a place of love, but remember to also give them space too.
Discover virtual hobbies together
Try a virtual cook-a-long, where both households cook the same meal and eat it together (via Face Time!) If you’re parents are missing reading to their grandchildren, then try the app Caribu. More than just video calling, it lets you draw together, read bedtime stories and play puzzles in real-time.
Use the time to reflect
There are some big conversations we should be having with our parents as they get older – finances, what they want in the future, their family history, how their physical health is etc. Whilst now may not be the time to have all these chats virtually, you can start to sow the seed and explain to them that you want to sit down and have some solid conversations when this is all over. Giving both sides time to reflect and think about what the content of these chats could be is important, as is showing them that you are supporting them whatever.
Help them keep active
As we get older, we lose muscle strength which helps to explain why we can become more frail. Keeping active and moving can help to reverse this and build our strength back up. Encourage your parents to move about (government guidelines recommend anything is better than nothing for the over 65s). We like The Body Coach’s 10-minute exercises for seniors, and we’ve also got a guide to staying fit & active at home during self isolation.
As you read above, we’re big believers in staying active as we get older (read our Nine Reasons Why Seniors Should Be Fit And Active). To help with this during lockdown, ElWell is offering virtual physiotherapy sessions (led by Nancy Farmer, our chartered physiotherapist). Find out about physiotherapy online, email email@example.com, or check out our blog posts for more information on helping you support your parents as they get older.
Thank you so much to Jess for some great tips on how to care for our older relatives and loved ones during the current lockdown. Jess and Nancy started ElWell to help people maintain their wellbeing as they get older, and get the most out of life. Jess and Nancy can help with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nutrition and lifestyle, and have a whole section on their website dedicated to self isolation to give you more tips and advice. Please do get in touch with ElWell if you have any questions about supporting older loved ones during the coronavirus crisis.