Tips for seniors to beat isolation
1 Pick up a new hobby
Hobbies can keep seniors motivated and make passing the time enjoyable.
Some hobbies ideal for seniors and those with impaired mobility include sewing, arts and crafts and learning to play a new instrument.
They can also set a goal when pursuing a hobby, such as finding a rare stamp to add to their collection or knitting a blanket for a grandchild's first birthday.
2 Stay connected with the community
Seniors can get involved in many volunteering opportunities such as making telephone calls to low-income families and to seniors who live alone.
Volunteering for such tasks and engaging with the community will give seniors a sense of purpose and relevance. Helping others can also benefit mental health and well-being, research shows.
SG United, SG Cares, RSVP Singapore and Lions Befrienders are some platforms and organisations that provide volunteering or remote contribution opportunities.
However, trying to engage seniors in meaningful and purposeful phone conversations may prove a challenge as many of them are hard of hearing.
Amplifiers or sound-enhancement tools can help improve their hearing when watching movies or talking on the phone. These aids cancel background noise and enhance vocals, improving the overall quality for the seniors with hearing difficulty.
3 Exercise in the park or neighbourhood
Taking a walk in the neighbourhood or doing simple exercises in the park can help seniors feel better. Even though safe distancing still has to be observed, a simple interaction with another human being through a wave or a smile can help stave off feelings of loneliness.
4 Choose a home-based care service
A weekly or biweekly home-based care service that can include elder-sitting and engagement, especially for home-bound seniors, can be arranged to help ease the sense of isolation.
Even for just an hour or two, once or twice a week, it could go a long way to support seniors and prevent them from feeling neglected.
Staff of senior care centres, active ageing hubs and senior activity centres keep in touch with their senior clients to check on their physical and emotional well-being during the closure of the centres due to the circuit breaker.
5 Create a routine
Having a routine can help seniors better handle their emotions. An active routine, which could include walking or exercising, engaging in a creative activity they are interested in and helping with household chores, helps prevent seniors from taking naps during the day and disrupting their sleep at night.
6 Set simple, small, achievable goals Setting simple achievable goals can help seniors improve their mood and keep them motivated.
This could include reading a book, cleaning up a messy storage space or shelf, reorganising a music or book collection or looking back at old photos, letters or diaries.
• Source: Active Global Home & Community Care medical director Adriel Rao Kailing