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This World Senior Citizens Day, help your elders to break free from inertia amid Covid-19!

Updated on:20 August 2021, 19:09pm IST
On World Senior Citizens Day 2021, experts tell you how to ensure that your elders remain active and engaged amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Radhika Bhirani
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elders
A healthy and happy home environment will keep anxiety among elders at bay. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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It’s the World Senior Citizens Day! “Karein toh karein kya?” has become a common question and sentiment that you may have come across from the elders at home in the recent past. Life has come to a standstill for many and monotony has settled in the life of many senior citizens as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. How much television can they really watch, and how much can they move around within a house? You’ve got to keep them active and moving, not just for their physical health but mental well being too.

On World Senior Citizens Day, let us remind you that little things that you may do will matter in making a big difference to the quality of their life. According to the World Health Organization, Covid-19 has drastically altered older people’s daily
routines, the care and support they receive and their ability to stay
socially connected. The seniors have been facing the challenge of having to
to spend more time at home, lack of physical contact with other family
members, friends and colleagues. To top that, there is anxiety and fear of
illness. To help them battle this, the need of the hour is to foster a
healthy environment for them.

world senior citizens day
Life has become tougher for senior citizens who are confined at home amid the pandemic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How to keep their mental health in check:

Old age inevitably brings many changes to life – socially, physically and
mentally. And when that gets coupled with restrictions stemming from an
unprecedented pandemic, it can leave an emotional impact on the elderly who
can’t be solely blamed for feeling a sense of isolation.

According to Dr Shanu Srivastava, Senior Psychologist, Indian Spinal
Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, some effort on your part can help
them pep up a bit and keep their mental health in place. Here’s what you can do.

1. Car ride: Elder members of our family can be taken out for a drive once a
week in their own car! Add a personal touch by ensuring the car is driven by
a family member. You don’t have to let them get out the car. “Just a drive
will change their mind and they will feel good. The outdoor environment will
be a change from remaining home continuously,” suggests Dr Srivastava.

2. Don’t miss the occasional outing: It is necessary that the elderly are
taken out occasionally, otherwise they may develop a condition. Dr
Srivastava shares that recently he had a patient who went to a restaurant
after a long time and she felt a little scared of seeing people as she had
gone there after a long time.

3. Easy exercises: The elders at home can indulge in easy exercises like
Pranayama, which can calm their mind and help them feel better.

4. Reading: If your elders like books, nothing like it! Indulging in a good
books or even religious texts can also be very beneficial in keeping them
engaged.

world senior citizens day
Meditation and yoga can help senior citizens stay calm. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Social media: Age is no bar for social media, and surely your elders can
hop onto the bandwagon and stay up-to-date on all things Insta, and even
your life! It is also a great way to stay connected with their loved ones,
even if it is virtual after all.

6. Television: It happens to be one of senior citizens’ favourite pastimes.
But what we can ensure is that they don’t watch depressing content. Make
them laugh a little with comedy entertainers or something which gives a
positive message.

7. Playtime: For elders with grandchildren, there’s no better happiness hack
than to spend time with the little ones and watch them grow. This is one
activity that will keep them on their toes and also make them happy.

8. Cut, chop and care: Involving the elders in household activities can be
helpful. Dr Srivastava says, “We should engaged the elderly in small
household chores like cutting vegetables or watering plants to keep them
busy, productive and free from anxiety”.

world senior citizens day
Older people must stay active! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How to keep their physical health in check:

Covid-19 has affected all of us, but probably affected our elders more by
impeding their routine walks and socialisation outside home as they were the
most vulnerable to the disease. Being confined to homes has led to a state of physical inactivity.

Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director and Head – Department of
Orthopedics, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka, New Delhi, suggests some tips which
can ensure they remain physically fit as far as possible.

1. Consultation: Before engaging in any type of exercise, check with a doctor if those are safe for the elderly. Many adults may have limited mobility and they won’t be able to do exercises that require heavy movement or bend a lot.

2. Precaution: Ensure the surface is dry and smooth on which elderly people will exercise at home. You must check for slippery and smooth surfaces and ensure they are wearing the right footwear for the activity. This will help them avoid falls
and fractures.

3. Don’t overdo: Stop the exercising if it makes them develop pain. Don’t make them overdo it. Check if there is any pain because some senior adults may be new to exercise and at this age, overdoing it can lead to injury. One must be
cautious about starting slow and steady.

4. Let them walk: If the weather allows, and if it’s possible to avoid crowds, a walk around the neighborhood is fine. It will help them reduce restlessness,
boost their immune system and keep their bones healthy.

5. At-home activities: Even walking around the house will work. They can take small walks inside their homes and can stay active by participating in hobbies like knitting and painting.

6. Workout together: Engage yourself and your children to exercise and do strength training with them. Activities like yoga and stretching can help improve balance flexibility and overall mobility as fall and fractures at their age is
common. You can also walk them daily while sharing your gossip.

7. Song ‘n’ dance: Music heals. A little bit of dancing and singing with them will benefits their cardiovascular problems, and it’s fun as well. It will encourage exercising their mind as well.

8. Let nature cure: Ask them to help you in gardening as it enhances mobility and provides a healthy dose of fresh air. Those who are not able to dig in, can plant indoors and keep your loved one moving and active.

Now those are ample ideas for you, get set going to make the going get smooth for your elders, and celebrate World Senior Citizens Day with them.

Radhika Bhirani Radhika Bhirani

Content Head for Healthshots.