In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone in the world suffered, especially the elderly. They were, and still are, asked to stay home as much as possible, as they are considered to be one of the most vulnerable groups within our communities.
Although lockdown restrictions have eased, they are still affected, and considering it's over such a long period of time, this can take its toll and contribute towards making them feel more lonely.
What can we all do in this situation to cheer our grandparents up? Here are 5 lovely ideas we'd like to share with you.
- Stay Connected
Though you may not be physically present, technology makes it so much easier to stay close to them. Connecting over a phone or video call with your grandparents amidst this crisis can cheer them up no end and can help to make them feel connected with the outside world. Just get your phone, dial up your grandparents and let them know that you are remembering them. It's as simple as that really. If you'd like to, and if it's possible, you can tell them when you can talk regularly and pre-agree a time - that way they have something to look forward to. It can make all the difference to them when they are home alone all day.
Making phone or video calls on a regular basis is the first thing that can bring a smile to your grandparent's face. On the other hand, you'll also do well to remember that they are the generation who used to write letters and send greeting cards to stay connected with their loved ones. And this is something you can do too. Engaging in this nostalgia-evoking tradition, could make them so happy, if you can find the time to do it.
- Engage in Activities Together
Doing things together may seem difficult when you live far away from your grandparents or when you only have chance to visit them occasionally, but it's not impossible and engaging with them by participating in certain activities can help to cheer up them up no end. You can use the time together to foster and develop joint hobbies and / or to learn from the wisdom of your grandparents, helping to create happy memories together. The hobby you choose could be anything which they enjoy doing. It may be something they did when they were younger and enjoy sharing with you now - or just something completely new that you would both like to do afresh.
If you live away, or are only visiting once in a while, you could begin your hobby together and then catch up about it over the phone to compare notes. Popular activities people consider include gardening. So, for instance, once you've planted together, you could take one plant each and discuss how you're both looking after it and how it's growing and sprouting.
Another idea might be to take up painting and you could paint the same things and compare these with one another even though you there is physical distance between you. You might do a mini book club where you read and compares views on different types of books. Alternatively you can get all sorts of arts and crafts activities delivered to your homes. Whatever you choose, doing something 'together' will help you nurture your relationship, and most importantly for now, keep your grandparents happy and connected to you.
If your grandparent is a little more tech savvy, find a game you can play with them remotely - anything that moves at a gentle pace. So, it could be an online crossword, hangman or scrabble. There are so many apps to choose from, you're bound to find something that you both enjoy - something that adds precious new shared experiences to your relationship.
- Offer Home-Care
Your grandparents may be looking for assisted living and require private carers in their day-to-day life. This can help them with various activities, especially if they have conditions which mean they are unable to do it all by themselves. In such circumstances, and in the face of Covid-19, people are understandably reluctant to want to move into care homes. So it might be worth considering bringing in care at home to support them to continue to live independently.
Finding someone who is well versed in home care and specialises with particular conditions in older people can make all the difference to your grandparent. They can hire personal care assistants from just a few hours in the week, or even on a temporary basis, until all Covid-19 related restrictions ease. UKCIL is a useful platform that allows anyone looking for care at home to do this. You can use it for one low, annual subscription to find local personal care assistants who are experienced in helping the elderly with their daily tasks, however needed.
As we age, it is commonplace for us to forget things. Combine this with a lack of contact and reduction in associated stimulation, exacerbated by recent events, it is only natural that even the best of us might start to feel unhappy. Further, with more than 1 in 14 of the UK population, aged 65 years or over, suffering from dementia or Alzheimers, hiring someone, who is specifically experienced in providing dementia care at home or Alzheimers care, can benefit them tremendously with their daily tasks.
- Assist Them With Daily Activities
Helping your grandparents with groceries, post office trips and the collection of essential supplies like medicines during the current COVID-19 situation, will be helpful. It will protect them, make them feel supported and loved by you and follow government best practise guidelines, advising elderly people to stay home wherever possible in order to remain safe.
Of course you need to offer - and not compel - your grandparents to take your help, as the last thing you want is to take away their autonomy, but, even just by offering, you will show them that you are there for them. What's more, if they actually let you run some errands for them, like collecting groceries, paying bills, getting medicines, or walking the dog, you will be physically helping them too.
- Keep Them Active
We all need physical activity and fresh air and your grandparents are no different. Supporting them to remain active can help increase their mobility, reduce pains, and improve their digestion and immunity - as long as, most importantly, you remember to go at their pace.
While they cannot go out as much as they normally would, you need to find ways to keep them engaged in their fitness routines. If you're not sure, or you want some variety, look online for ideas or ask their doctor, at their next appointment, for alternate activities to keep them engaged at home. You'll find a little exercise daily goes a long way to improving their mood and cheering them up, while keeping them healthy.
The restrictions of the Covid-19 crisis means that it can become difficult for your grandparents to cope with this changed situation, as they are advised to stay at home as much as possible and not meet anyone physically, over what is becoming a longer period of time. In extreme cases, they might begin to feel that the world is ostracising older people - even if it is for their wellbeing. Paying a little attention to how you can still spend quality time 'together' to show your grandparents how much they mean to you, is always worth doing - especially in currently difficult times.