For us here in Southern California, this month marks one year in some form of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Many people are experiencing the effects of pandemic fatigue, a certain kind of exhaustion which arises from dealing with the side effects of the coronavirus on a daily basis. Seniors are at greater risk for complications if they catch COVID-19. They are also more likely to experience isolation and loneliness during quarantine. For these reasons, older members of our community are more susceptible to senior pandemic fatigue.
Pandemic fatigue among seniors can take many forms, but it often shows up as extreme exhaustion and can include symptoms like anxiety, loneliness, irritability, and generalized fear. The signs of pandemic fatigue can also include:
- Brain fog or trouble focusing (may appear like dementia)
- Changes in appetite or overeating
- Racing thoughts
- A lack of motivation
- Constantly feeling on edge
- Arguing with loved ones
- The urge to withdraw from others
- Feelings of helplessness
It is important to pay attention to the toll that the health crisis is causing on mental, as well as physical health. If you notice that a loved one in your life has been showing signs of senior pandemic fatigue, consider one or more of these healthy coping strategies.
- TURN OFF THE NEWS. Sorry, I’m not yelling…well, maybe a little. Seriously, a steady stream of upsetting news headlines can wear down emotional well-being. It’s happened to me. It’s good to stay up-do-date on public health information but set limits to how much news you consume.
- Deal With Stress. Making joy and relaxation a priority is a good way to manage stress during difficult times. Reading, breathing exercises, yoga, and nature walks can all help the senior in your life unwind. Accept that it’s ok to feel stressed and then take some action to reduce it.
- Reach Out To Others. Connecting with loved ones is a fantastic way to manage senior pandemic fatigue. Most of us have used FaceTime or Zoom for meetings this past year. If you haven’t already, encourage your loved one to connect this way or reach out to a senior and show them how to Zoom. The Cathedral City Senior Center has a video on How To Zoom To Stay Connected that you can check out.
- Practice Healthy Habits. Taking good care of the body not only helps build up the immune system against COVID-19, but also boosts well-being. Make sure the senior you love is drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and eating balanced meals. Also, replace negative thoughts with kind, encouraging statements.
- Forge New Traditions. Face it, life is different during COVID-19 and our traditions have suffered. So, create new ones. Having things to look forward to can help reduce senior pandemic fatigue. Consider setting aside one night a week for group calls with family, or for a self-care night at home.
Continue to follow preventive measures
While many seniors have gotten the vaccine, there’s still that window where you’re susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19, according to the American Medical Association.
According to Dr. Anna Yap, a third-year resident in the UCLA-Ronald Reagan/Olive View emergency medicine program, until everybody gets vaccinated, we probably can’t loosen up our mask-wearing or physical distancing.
So, stay safe and help each other through this.
About Senior Living Options of the Desert
Senior Living Options of the Desert is Southern California’s leader in senior living referral. We’ve been helping families find compassionate care for their loved ones since 2004.
Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or another form of senior care, our local family advisors will help you find the right option for you and your family. Our mission is to provide families with the best residential care options based on care needs and location, no matter what the budget. And, our services are always FREE.
You can get more information at www.seniorlivingoptionsofthedesert.com.