As it is, being locked inside our homes with no access to any outdoor entertainment or social interaction is nauseating. The constant discussion about the rising number of patients infected by the covid-19 virus along with the uncertainty about its ending as well as our future can make it even worse.
However, what tops the list of anxieties caused by the pandemic is definitely being locked away from your parents—especially if they’re old.
After all, if the pandemic can give a well-functioning adult like you terrible anxiety, depression, or panic attacks, imagine the plight of your aged parents in this situation.
However, don’t let this situation make you feel helpless. You can still keep a close watch on your parents and take care of them—even from a distance. Here’s how:
1. Make full use of technology: Zoom/ WhatsApp video call/ Facetime, whatever it is that your parents are comfortable operating, make sure you use that app to check on them at least twice a day.
In case they don’t have these apps or don’t know how to use them, you can always be patient and teach them how to do so over an audio call.
2. Stay in touch with your parents’ neighbours: Another smart thing to do is to stay in touch with your parents’ neighbours and, if possible, request them to just check on your parents once a day—from a distance. Surely, some human contact (even from afar) will cheer up your parents. Plus, hearing about your parents from their neighbours will give you an extra dose of satisfaction in case you’ve been worried about them all along.
3. Try to provide them with adequate channels of entertainment: Apart from the reruns of several mythological serials from the ’90s, there’s nothing new to watch on television. So, now would be the perfect time to drive your parents away from the typical saas-bahu serials and introduce them to the world of a more mindful mode of entertainment in the form of web series. A Hindi web series about mothers can be a great start, for instance. If they do not have access to these apps, you can always teach them to operate YouTube so that they can follow workout videos and engage in physical activity as well.
4. Discourage them from watching too much news: The constant banter about the increasing number of coronavirus cases and the shooting death toll can make your parents more anxious than they already are.
Hence, you must discourage them from watching news constantly. In fact, make sure to share positive news with them like the lockdown helping in curbing the spread of the pandemic or a vaccine being sent for human testing to induce more hope as well as positivity in their minds.
5. Reach out to the authorities: The Chief Ministers of various states have opened helplines for helping out the elderly during the lockdown. For Delhi, the helpline number is 011-41182977 and can be dialed in case you want the government to send across essential commodities or assist your parents for anything else. In fact, the local police can be quite helpful in terms of providing government-funded food and ration or in helping the aged procure their medicines.
6. Give community services a fair chance: In a recent public announcement, Rekha Sharma who is the chief of the National Commission for Women appealed to people to get in touch with the commission via e-mail in case anyone’s old parents were staying alone and away from them due to the lockdown. The mentioned addresses were: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. So, if nothing else works, you can reach out to her if your parents need any help.
Additionally, several NGOs and communities have been on their toes trying to help out the elderly amidst the covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Emoha, for instance, is a community that has launched an application exclusively for the elderly and aims to provide emergency coordination, interactive activities, access to certified nurses as well as medical attendants for your parents, and several other services to make their lives easier during the lockdown.
7. Take advantage of the newly-launched services: Sharing a cake that you lovingly baked for your parents or having that sumptuous biryani your mum made delivered at your doorstep is now a reality!
Yes, it’s possible—thanks to applications like Swiggy, that have now started picking and delivering essentials. So, apart from sending your parents their regular medicines or other things that they need, you can also surprise them with a dish every now and then to bring a smile on their faces.
8. Be more involved: Calling and checking on your parents is one thing. But, how about scheduling an hour-long workout session together on a video call every day? How about keeping mommy on a video call while you cook and learning a new recipe from her this way? How about sending your parents funny videos to cheer them up?
Surely, these ways can boost their mood and help them get through this lockdown more smoothly. You can even send handmade cards and care packages to them through apps like Swiggy Genie.
It is definitely a very tough time and yes, being away from their parents during this pandemic only makes people feel more anxious. However, the lockdown is the need of the hour and instead of feeling bad about this distance, you should find ways to connect with your parents