Recommendations of the Israel Gerontological Society and Aging 2.0 Israel to Assist the Elderly in Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic Safely
1. Keep in Touch – Remember, the government directives require only physical isolation. It is very important to stay in touch by telephone. If possible, use video calls.
2. Maintain physical activity and proper nutrition – Make sure to exercise both in sitting and standing positions, ascend and descend stairs, and ensure proper balanced nutrition and sufficient drinking. You can chose an exercise (walking on the spot standing / sitting) and preform it for an entire television commercial. chose 10 television commercials and ten different exercises every day.
3. Ensure steady supplies of food, necessities and medications – Use delivery services or ask family members or neighbors to bring provisions to your front door. During this period, it is important to ensure that sufficient regular / prescription medicines are available at home – keep a two weeks’ supply at least. In addition, we advise keeping a reserve of fever-reducing drugs and pain-killers, absorbent hygiene products and disinfectants.
4. Assistive devices – Now is a good time to search for helpful devices which can be of assistance to the elderly at home and in daily activities. The devices may be ordered by phone / online and will be delivered to your home.
5. Maintaining an active routine – Dear families, passivity is difficult, engage and occupy your loved ones. This is a good time to collect and exchange favorite recipes, write creative stories or family histories, to convert photo albums into a digital format, and sort out or exchange photos, to enroll in courses and hear lectures on the web or through podcasts, to view plays, operas or movies from your home. It is very important to build a basic daily routine and adhere to a regular daily activity schedule.
6. Humor at all times! – “Laughter is the best medicine”. It is well known that a sense of humor helps alleviate stress. Encourage family members to send jokes and funny pictures.
7. Close neighbors are better than distant relations – It is important to provide a neighbor with a key to the apartment / house especially when family is far away and there may be limitations on travel. It is important to point out to the elderly that they should remove the key from the lock and not lock the upper bolt or chain!
8. Vitamin D – During the coming weeks most elderly people will be confined to their homes. It is important, weather permitting, to open windows and air out the house, as well as to sit in the sun for at least 10 minutes to allow the body to absorb Vitamin D.
9. Web sites and information centers – find two- three relevant support numbers. Too much information will cause confusion
10. Persons suffering from dementia – may sense the tension in their environment and become restive. It is essential to keep to a regular daily schedule, maintain contact with the family, and place emphasis on subjects, themes and activities that instill calm and comfort.
Together we shall overcome – and get through the corona crisis safely!
To all of us who are now feeling cut off from our normal world and “stifled” at home, this is an opportunity to ponder and bear in mind the many people – relatives, neighbors and friends – living around us, for whom this is their usual, “normal” day-to-day reality. At this special period of time we should each seek a way to join with those who support and assist them.
And last, please don’t push your loved one to adopt technologies if you see that they are having difficulties. Respect the difficulties and don’t hurt their self esteem.
Prof. Yitzhak Brick, Chairman, Israel Gerontological Society
Dr. Yael Benvenisti, Aging 2.0 Israel