No one likes to think about it, but we must face the fact that COVID-19 is having a serious impact on our mental wellness. Cases of depression and dementia are on the rise with a growing number of people suffering from these illnesses.
The sooner a diagnosis is made, the better chance we have to slow down the impact of these diseases. It is up to us to see signs in ourselves and loved ones early so we can get treatment that may decelerate the progression of debilitating symptoms.
It’s important not to let fear get the best of you. Frederick Lenz one said “The most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears.” The fear of getting the COVID-19 virus along with the anxiety of the unknown, is the root of this current decline.
If you notice changes or something happening with yourself or a loved one, do not think the worst. See your primary care physician, virtually even, so they may do a complete work up to determine what is actually going on.
Here comes the tricky part. Looking for the signs in ourselves is not easy, especially when people are retired and the cognitive challenges of a career or management of a full household are no longer a part of everyday life. Since the day to day practice is of a different magnitude, noticing symptoms ourselves may be difficult. A change in ability to perform simple tasks such as trouble with basic mathematics or just making a routine decision are red flags to be aware of. Additionally, losing the keys and finding them in a strange place or getting lost on the way home from a local store could also be things to look out for. Finally, if the house is in unusual disarray, hygiene practices are not what it used to be, or most of the food in the refrigerator is out of date and rotten, chances are there is a problem.
What can you do now?
- Keep your brain challenged with a crossword puzzle, came of cards or scrabble.
- Socialize! This can be done virtually, on the phone or one-on-one while we await for group activities to be planned out safely, to increase quality of life.
- Get plenty of sleep. It helps to regulate the chemicals in our brain that transmit information.
- Eat well.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs.
- Get fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun’s natural rays!
- Reduce stress by understanding trigger points.
Remember to also ask for help! There’s no shame in asking someone for support. At Spring Hills, our continuum of healthcare services ranging from Population Health and Home Care Services to Post Acute Care, Assisted Living or Memory Care Communities, is at your service and ready to help!