Senior citizens deserve extra attention


All of the statistics and articles surrounding COVID-19 concern both the young and old.

While every person needs to practice better social distancing and sanitary practices, our senior citizens require extra attention during this pandemic.

On top of physical health concerns, there are other warranted worries by healthcare workers for our elders.

Like the coronavirus, there’s an additional battle many seniors face as the subject has also tested our collective mental health.

Thankfully we’re not alone, as services are in place to help those in need by nationally and locally.

Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include both people aged 65 years and older and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has made recommendations on how to help mental health during this time for seniors.

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

Connect with others (in a safe manner). Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

Some other helpful contacts also include: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746).

Locally, a new service aims to help quell growing anxieties for seniors in south central Indiana. Thrive Alliance now offers a “Senior Friend Line” for older citizens having difficulties coping with loneliness and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The line, 1-866-644-6407, puts individuals in touch with trained Thrive Alliance staff members, who listen to their concerns confidentially and without judgement

While Senior Friend Line staff are not therapists, and will not provide counseling advice, but they have been highly trained in active listening, Thrive Alliance Outreach and Community Relations manager Sue Lamborn said.

Thrive Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides a wide range of housing, social, and human services to residents of south central Indiana. It is Indiana’s Area 11 Agency on Aging and has served Jackson, Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur and Jennings counties since 1981.

It’s tough for families to distance themselves from their loved ones, but no risks can be taken at this time.

We all need to keep in close contact with your family members, but in an appropriate manner.

Even if they aren’t feeling down or sick, give your loved ones a call. They’d love to hear from you.

Send comments to [email protected].

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