Covid-19, the pandemic gripping the world currently, has completely taken over our lives. Each passing day, we hear about the number of infections and deaths increasing. We’re all living in absolute fear as we get used to a new life which includes not being able to see our loved ones or comfort them with a hug.
It has been particularly tough on our ageing parents as they find themselves in the vulnerable age group when it comes to coronavirus, along with a flood of information on the novel disease. If your parents are not staying with you during this unprecedented time, then it is essential that you work towards reducing the anxiety they might be experiencing.
We talked to Dr. Bhavna Barmi, a renowned clinical psychologist from Delhi NCR, to understand what they might be going through and how we can help mitigate the situation. She says: “The coronavirus disease pandemic has brought about unprecedented fear and uncertainty, especially among older adults. We are at a point wherein there is a need to develop new ways of living, both for the young and the old.”
Dr. Barmi suggests the following ways in which we, as children, can comfort our parents’ coronavirus anxiety and help them maintain good mental health:
1. Provide them with the right information
From news channels to Whatsapp, the only thing being talked about currently is coronavirus. This means that there’s ample information available, but not all of it is beneficial or even correct. In the middle of a pandemic, it is important that our parents have access to correct information that will help them take preventive and effective steps. Share with them articles, videos, and information that is important but not negative in nature.
Dr. Barmi says
Provide them with adequate information to make them aware but don’t overburden them with unnecessary, extra details.
2. Stay in regular contact with them
In times where social distancing is becoming the norm, it is important that we make use of modern technology to stay in touch with our parents. Being able to talk to you and see you over a video call will help in reducing their anxiety. Knowing that their children are constantly looking out for them is a comforting feeling.
Dr. Barmi suggests, “Maintain connection with them on a constant basis. Check-in on them regularly through phone calls, send reminders for their medication intake, and buy their daily essentials like milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, fruit, etc.”
3. Remind them of the importance of social distancing
Staying away from our family and friends to practice social distancing is starting to take an emotional toll on everyone. Our parents are no different. However, it is important to remind them why it is being done and how it is contributing to everyone’s safety.
Dr. Barmi advises limiting in-person visits while also helping them understand the need to practice social distancing to keep them safe.
4. Teach them how to use technology
According to Dr. Barmi, we need to teach our parents the latest technology that allows them to stay in touch. From Zoom to Facebook, teach them how to use these methods of communication to stay in constant touch.
5. Identify people who can help them
Many of us find ourselves away from our parents. In such a situation, it is important to identify someone in their vicinity who can be trusted to help them in times of need and also look at important numbers that they can use in the case of an emergency.
Dr. Barmi says: “Identify one person nearby who they could rely on to care for them in case you are not available or are far away. Help them put all important phone numbers on speed dial. Most important of all: keep them informed on actions to be taken if they develop symptoms of covid-19. Decreasing anxiety is important, but being prepared is equally necessary.”
It is only normal for our parents to go through anxiety over coronavirus but we have to work towards making sure that we can comfort them during these tough times.