Simple ways to manage COVID anxiety in the elderly

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The pandemic has impacted our mental health in a huge way. In the case of the elderly in particular, studies have recorded a surge in mental health issues during this time.

Therapist and counsellor Sarla Totla points out that the elders, who are primarily homebound or living alone, may react differently to isolation, negative news, restrictions, and lack of physical contact. This could lead to anxiety.

Here are some tips that the therapist suggested to take care of the mental health of the elderly amid the pandemic:

*Create a safe environment that encourages them to share their feelings. Expressing what they feel can help ease their anxiety.

*Listen to them with empathy rather than frustration, no matter how many times they share similar concerns.

*Help them in setting and following their daily routine which includes timely meals, medicines, exercising, and time with family.

*Keep a check on their mental health as they may feel low.

*They may feel upset about having to rely on family members for everyday tasks. So help them realise their life experience and skills are valued. Share your life situation, and take their advice on issues that bother you.

*Dedicate time every day to engage with them through a fun activity (taking time out from COVID-related updates).

*Understand what activities or ways help them to relax. What you do may not fit their needs.

*Listening to old songs, walking in the garden, playing a card game or sharing their stories may help calm their mind.

*Be patient and educate them about the false information that often circulates through messages.

*If their anxiety and stress persists or escalates, help them connect with a mental health professional.

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