These are scary times, made scarier by the fact we generally can’t visit our senior loved ones. But there are some key – and not always obvious – questions you can ask to make sure they’re weathering the storm as best they can.
- “What’s in your fridge?” Proper nutrition is always important, but during these trying times it can be particularly difficult to eat right. Grocery store shelves are frequently empty and many restaurants are closed even for takeout. If you can, schedule grocery delivery from companies like Instacart, Peapod, Shipt or Amazon Fresh for older relatives. Think ahead, as you may have to schedule up to 3 weeks in advance at this point for a delivery window. Make sure not only to order the things they need (proteins, fresh fruits & vegetables, dry goods like pasta, paper products) but the things they like (sweets, pastries, snacks & the like). Having proper food is important physically, but having food you like is important mentally.
- “How are you keeping yourself busy?” People who spent their time engaged with friends & activities are taking the stay-at-home restrictions particularly hard. Make sure your loved ones have activities to keep them entertained: movies, games, music, puzzles, hobbies. Making sure they have the tools to keep their minds & souls healthy is critically important during these times.
- “Is the home in good shape?” The news today can be overwhelming, sometimes to the point that it pushes other concerns to the back of the mind. But even the mundane things need to be done, and that includes keeping up with the home, both in terms of cleanliness and maintenance. For example: if they’re falling behind on laundry, many laundromats are now offering contactless pick up and drop-off of clothes. Some cleaning services have also adapted their practices for the Covid era. Ask when the last time their A/C and heating systems were inspected, and when they last checked their smoke detectors. These sorts of servicing are still happening, but scheduling is often tighter than normal, so appointments may have to be made further in advance than normal.
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