Taking care of older adults can become especially difficult during a lockdown because they are highly vulnerable to the virus and the hopelessness and boredom that the lockdown can create. Small changes in the activities you can do with them can create a huge impact.
DD National has resumed the telecast of a lot of old shows, religious as well as entertainment-based. Creating a schedule for them where they can sit with family members and watch light-hearted shows that they are familiar with could influence their mood greatly. It would also inculcate a sense of familiarity in these uncertain and never-experienced-before lockdown scenarios.
A lot of our elderly are burdened with worry about their children and their modes of income, on top of the higher susceptibility towards this outbreak. It is important to have honest conversations with them about the finances, to reassure them that the family will be able to fight through this storm. Also, periodically checking up on them and engaging in positive conversations to keep their anxiety thought-loops at bay.
It is a good opportunity for grandchildren to bond with their grandparents through learning different skills like knitting, baking, reading story-books, or even playing cards.
It might be a good idea to have the elderly revisit activities that used to give them joy. Whether it is finding music from their times, or a movie they are very fond of, or even cooking their favourite food/sweet dish. Go back to tried and tested methods of what always works when cheering them up.
There might be greater levels of helplessness in the elderly than the younger generation due to the compounding effect of the virus as well as their reduced perceived “need”. Many senior citizens feel anxious and helpless because they feel that they do not contribute as much as they used to, and feel less useful. To combat this, family members or loved ones can find small things to do where they need help from the elders. For example: oiling hair, sewing holes or buttons, asking for their opinion when discussing the political situation, and making them feel included and important instead of a liability.
Games like bingo and housie, can also keep them entertained for a while. Online bingo as well as housie games are being conducted online.