One of the hardest things for all ages to find these days seems to be motivation. In the current news cycle and pandemic state, it is hard to continue to stay strong and motivated. That is especially true for those in senior living, such as assisted living, memory care, or post-acute care as well as their family members who don’t get to see them as regularly as they used to be able to. We understand that mental health is extremely important as we have always placed intriguing the mind first on our approach to caring for this population. Here are some of the ways that our communities are inspiring motivation for the seniors and their family members.
Trying to Maintain Normalcy Wherever Possible
An unfortunate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many activities and dining programs can no longer function the way they used to. However, that doesn’t mean that they have to be eliminated altogether. That sense of routine that includes your daily meals and activities schedule is vital to the health and wellbeing of the senior population. WebPT discussed the importance of a routine further by saying, “Routines can be grounding in the best of times, but in times of uncertainty, they are downright essential…. Interjecting some familiar habits into your daily schedule can help make life feel a little more normal.” We are proud to have adjusted and adapted to the changing times by offering these staple parts of the residents’ days but in a new way that will keep them safe while maintaining that sense of normalcy.
Coordinating Phone Calls and Video Chats on a Regular Basis
Social distancing and quarantining can get lonely for everyone. Even the most passionate homebodies have found themselves hopping on video calls and spending more time on their phones to help alleviate those feelings of loneliness. That is even truer for the senior population. After all, they don’t call them your “golden years” to be spent alone. Our assisted living, memory care, and post-acute care communities have placed a heightened priority on scheduling phone and video calls between the seniors and their loved ones as often as they possibly can. Experts featured in the New York Times discussed how vital social connection is for seniors by saying, “Isolation is associated with significantly higher rates of heart disease and stroke and a 50 percent increased risk of dementia, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. In a moment when everyone is struggling with feeling isolated, a phone call can help both callers find a much-needed connection.” It is critically important to keep those in senior living as connected as possible to the outside world to prevent social isolation.
Daily Check-Ins on a One-on-One Basis
Along with those outside of their community, daily check-ins from their new family within the building can also be a huge relief and motivation. Whether it is for a one-on-one activity or just a casual visit to say hi, it gives those older adults a reason to get up, out of bed and ready for the day. According to a news report on KSAT, “Mental health experts are asking the community to be more vigilant about looking after seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. Feelings of isolation and loneliness have been magnified by the stay-home restrictions among seniors (and) these feelings could leave seniors vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.” That is why it is so important for the staff at these communities to come around and do daily check-ins with the seniors to ensure that they feel seen and, in turn, motivated to stay strong and get through the pandemic.
Offering Support Wherever Possible
We can all use a bit of support during these times. However, senior living residents and their family members are especially at-risk for mental health complications. There are a variety of support systems that were either preexisting or created specifically to assist and offer help during these difficult times. Our company has shared these resources in every way that we can including phone calls between our corporate team and the families, offering support at the community level and via our social media channels. We also have created unique and innovative ways to stay connected, such as our Energy Bus program which helps the residents and their families feel connected. In addition, we have extended internal support, such as our Spring Hills Cares Program, which features virtual support and webinars for families to feel supported.