It is OK to share COVID information with senior citizens, but only correct, verified information. Let's do our bit and keep them mentally safe

Elders and seniors all around the country are scared with the information of them being vulnerable to the virus. The increase in the death rate of people above the age of 50 has deepened the scare of death and struggle, making the older groups nervous and anxiety-ridden.

“Every day, mama gets up in the morning thinking what if she contracts the virus. She has stopped us from touching any of her things. Even when we are all in the house, she doesn’t let us help her. We are following the basic social distancing even at home but my mother wouldn’t even come out of her room until totally necessary. I am really worried about her anxiety; what if she becomes paranoid by the end of this pandemic? I cannot see this happening,” says Nikunj. 

Just as Nikunj many children are worried for their parents, safety and  mental health, during the pandemic. Moreover, with the doctors cautioning how imperative it is for the elderly to take care and self-quarantine as their immune systems aren’t strong to fight the virus, the anxiety rates among the seniors as they struggle with the isolation and practice living alone, has gone up manifold. Apart from the fact that they have to isolate themselves, they also worry about their existing health issues like diabetes, heart diseases, financial issues and concerns for their children. 

Here’s a few simple steps to help them adjust to this new normal. 

  1. Follow social distancing and not isolation: As many of the elderly crowd is worried about being infected or spreading the infection (if any) to the youngers in the house it is important for you to make them understand that social distancing is needed but social isolation is not the need of the hour. Ask them to stay connected with you through different means like video calls in case they are distant or practice normal social distancing norms at home rather than locking themselves up in the room. 
  2. Notice their prevalent feelings/emotions: Irrespective of a few trials, if your elderly groups are still constantly experiencing feelings of sadness, disappointment, stress, anxiety and depression it is always better to seek professional help. Sometimes it gets difficult for them to talk or discuss their concerns with the family members. In such cases, a therapist is the best option as they are trained to handle such reactions during extreme surroundings.
  3. Keep them away from unnecessary NEWS: Ask them not to bother themselves over the news they receive on social media, but to rely on trusted sources of information such as the WHO site, or ask the doctor. If you find any groups, acquaintances sending unverified scary forwards to your elders, intervene and ask them not to do so
  4. Discuss the COVID pandemic with them daily so that they feel empowered with  the right information. Tell them the latest happenings, vaccination progress, etc., --information you also pick up from the right sources--so that they do not feel the curiosity to look for information here and  there.