COVID-19 & Older Adults
Many of us are feeling anxious, confused, scared, lonely, anxious, sad, or whatever you may be experiencing – give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings you are feeling. It’s natural to have these and other feelings during this current time of uncertainty and upheaval.
It’s natural to experience a variety of thoughts and feelings during this time, including:
- Increased fear for your own health and your friends’ health
- Worry about deaths of your friends or your own death
- Increased feelings of vulnerability and helplessness due to age, etc
- Loss of sense of purpose and/or belonging
- Feeling lost and disconnected
- Fear of not being able to receive medical care or help
There have been many changes that have led to these feelings:
- Closed volunteer activities, community centers, meal sites & exercise groups
- Losses related to Worship services being suspended
- Cancelled in-person, routine, medical appointments
- Needing to adjust to new forms of care
- Separation from loved ones – grandchildren, adult children, peers
Here are some tools that may help during this time:
Practice acceptance and self-compassion
Accept your feelings; acknowledge the reality of the changes and losses
Talk about the physical and emotional pain with supportive people by phone
Get through painful thoughts by using coping statements
I’ve been through challenges before and I will get through this, too.
I will do the best I can today. One day at a time. This too will pass.
It’s easy during this unsettling time to let our worries spin out of control and think the worst is going to take place. Focus on things we can control – our thoughts, words, and actions. Do what you can – social distancing, sheltering at home, practicing good hygiene, etc. Slow down and rein in fears of what if.
- Try to tell yourself if and when it happens, I will deal with it then (no use worrying about something that may never happen.)
- Using worry constructively to make plans or prepare. Do what is in our control and then let go.
- Limit Media/ Staying informed: get info from trustworthy news sources. Limit checking news updates and watching news
It stinks but this is, for now, the ways things are. I will do what is in my control
Be on the lookout for opportunities
Take the opportunity to clarify what matters to you: People, an unfinished work, or whatever brings you fulfillment.
Look for blessings and small acts of goodness. Living in the here and now by being in the moment and fully inhabiting the time we are in.
Remind yourself of the big picture. You’ve been through many challenges, losses, changes in your lifetime. You have been resilient and have survived and even thrive, remember your inner strength.
This time may be a chance to connect to the future by reflecting on how we can surpass our personal limits and touch those of the next generations. How can you reach out to others to give and receive support and social connection?
Finally, when you feel ready in your own timeframe and have a sense of healing…
Challenge yourself to making meaning in all that has been occurring.
Take care of yourself
Practice self-care and tend to your emotional, social, physical and spiritual health. Take part in meaningful activity, create new daily routines, build in recreational breaks, breathe deeply and relax!
Be kind to yourself; as if you were speaking to/treating your beloved!
• AARP Community Connections
• Homage Senior Services of Snohomish County
• Carl Gipson Senior Center (Everett) meal program
• Your local church – may also have ideas for social support and spiritual support
The Everett Clinic Behavioral Health department is here for you. Behavioral Health (talk therapy) video visits are open to new patients with most commercial insurance. Please visit us online or call 425-339-5453 for more information and to schedule an appointment.
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