During this odd time of distancing and uncertainty, many older adults and caregivers are feeling lonely, agitated, and withdrawn. Those with underlying behavioral health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and previous substance use disorder, are at particularly high risk for negative outcomes, including severe anxiety, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide.
Relieving stress and anxiety is also critically important now. Here are a few tips that all of us can use as we navigate these uncertain times:
- Stay informed and take practical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Get the facts from factual sources, not a biased news outlet.
- Engage in healthy activities: Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night; eat a healthy diet, and exercise your body and mind. Meditation, walking, gardening, and doing exercise routines at home are all beneficial to your mental health.
- Make sure you have at least a one-month supply of the prescription and OTC medications you need to manage your mental health and other ongoing conditions. Every pharmacy I’ve visited with my senior friends seems to be backlogged at least 2-3 days right now.
- Stay connected with your family, friends, and other support networks (faith, hobbies, etc.). Having someone to talk to about your needs and feelings is vital for mental health. Make a commitment to contact at least one person per day for continued social connection.
- Try as much as possible to be positive and relish the simple things in life. There is much proof that focusing on positive things helps us stay positive. Also, being a positive influence on others helps maintain our own cheery perspective!
Since March of 2020, I have seen many of my senior friends slip into some form of depression due to the pandemic. To learn more about how we can do better, join me with my friends (who are counselors) Melissa Matousek and Laura Pletcher from The Blick Center for Behavioral Health as we chat about “Managing Mental Health for Seniors” on Facebook Live on September 21 at 3 pm. Just click on any Danbury Senior Living Facebook page to attend!