It was only last year that health professionals were encouraging us all to get out and be social. Now, social isolation is keeping seniors safe, whether they’re at home or in aged care. But as one lady in Pennsylvania pointed out last week (pictured above), safety isn’t all people need.
Apart from doing their groceries (or buying them beer), here are three simple ways to support and connect with seniors in social isolation.
Thanks a Bunch
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”Iris Murdoch
Various studies show flowers are potent wellbeing boosters. In particular, a 2001 Rutgers study found flowers boosted seniors’ mood, memory, and social connections.
Head researcher Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones said, “Instinct tells us that flowers lift our spirits, but, their effects on seniors are especially profound, if not surprising.”
Avoid potential allergens like pollen when choosing flowers for a senior. Also consider keeping bouquets to a manageable size so they’re easy to look after.
Drop a Line
Letters or cards have been making people’s days for centuries. Now, Australia is realising handwritten notes are a thoughtful way to show a senior you care.
For example, this March students of Two Rocks Primary School couldn’t continue their annual visit to Bethanie Beachside Aged Care. They took to pen and paper instead, and sent letters to residents including one Edwin:
Seniors citizens are special because they are very kind, generous and of course they have been on earth longer than us! I wish you good luck. I love you all and I hope you are all doing good. I do remember Edwin. I hope you are all great goodbye Bethanies! PS Edwin is generous, beautiful and of course kind.
From Emily. D.
Bethanie Beachside Occupational Therapist Emily Baker said, “It is times like these when a little note like this can absolutely lift everyone’s spirits. I encourage more people to do it as it brings such a huge smile to the faces of our residents.”
Join the National Pen-Pal Movement
If you really want to get into note-writing, you can sign up for Pen Pals @ Home Instead to become a pen pal for an Australian senior.
The new initiative by Home Instead Senior Care is connecting seniors with pen pals of all ages across Australia. Participants can simply type their letters, or scan and send handwritten letters or drawings.
The program is expanding and encourages aged care homes and seniors to register.
Social connection runs deeper than distance. To show a senior you care, try flowers, or letters, or both. Or, perhaps, some beer.