During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) has deemed older adults among the people who are at higher risk for severe illness. As a country, our daily lives have changed to follow CDC, state and federal mandates. Furthermore, due to being a vulnerable demographic, seniors are becoming increasingly fearful of leaving their homes and will need more support during this time.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Be a helper, think of those in your family, your co-workers, and neighbors who may need assistance during this time. Contact them to see if there’s anything that you can do to ensure that they are both safe and secure.

Here are 5 Tips To Assist Senior Citizens During COVID-19:

  • 1. Grocery Assistance

    Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, grocery stores have become increasingly busy with customers stocking up on essentials. Unfortunately, these larger crowds bring a higher risk of virus exposure for seniors. Shopping in-store is still an option as some grocers have implemented special hours for seniors, pregnant women and those who are at-risk. While other meal options include prepared food services, restaurant delivery, meal kits and grocery delivery. Check out this comprehensive article about grocery shopping tips for seniors here.

  • 2. Evaluate Their E-Mails, Mail and Phone Calls

    During social chaos, deceptive practices are afoot from scammers looking to take advantage of confusion and emotion. Posing as reputable outfits, they purposefully target the aging population with the malintent to gain access to bank accounts, social security numbers and more. Offer to assist seniors in your life by evaluating these requests for them. To learn more about the worst COVID-19 scams targeting seniors, click here.

  • 3. Communication

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 or older live alone. While living alone does not inevitably lead to social isolation, it’s become more of a contributing factor during this difficult time. Many states are under a stay-at-home mandate, and seniors who may normally have an active social life with friends and family may be alone. Their usual routine and support systems may be disrupted, so it’s important to be mindful of them and their needs. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances who may need someone to talk to or assistance with tasks. A phone call, video chat, mailed letter or e-mail will help their mental well-being and ensure that they have someone to speak or communicate with if they require support.

  • 4. Exterior Maintenance

    Seniors who own homes may be too nervous or anxious to venture outdoors during this time. During the spring season, lots of changes take place to the exterior of a home. If you have a neighbor or family member who has mobility needs and cannot retrieve their garbage cans, mow their lawn or collect mail, be mindful of their needs. Volunteer to do some light work on the exterior of their home or connect with their neighborhood/homeowners association board to see if anyone would be willing to assist them.

  • 5. Entertainment

    Due to state mandates for stay-at-home orders, seniors who are homebound during this time may be too anxious and nervous to leave the house. Bringing them puzzles or games to play online with family and friends can help to pass the time. Additionally, you can have them work on a project during this time, such as organizing photos, collecting together memorabilia or favorite recipes, or finding songs or movies to share with friends and family.

Seniors have lived through many life-altering events, but this is a time where everyone needs someone to rely on. Older adults are more likely to become lonely and isolated, so make sure you stay in touch with those who may need assistance and regularly check in on their well-being. Be cognizant of those around you, do not hesitate to help those who need a little extra attention, and stay safe.

Encouraging older adults to stay active and safe during the coronavirus pandemic | NCOA