A focus on physical wellbeing has been a necessity since the pandemic and COVID-19 came into our lives. Older loved ones ageing in place or in aged care are deemed among the most physically vulnerable and hence took centre stage when it came to protection through isolation as well as priority vaccination. But as we ease into our new COVID ‘normal’ way of life, we have come to realise the rising, silent epidemic of mental and emotional health impacts needing our attention. The lively social world we once lived in has been interrupted by repeated periods of isolation and extreme loneliness for many in home care.
In surveys taken since the beginning of the pandemic, 54% of people reported that they felt ‘more lonely’ since the onset of COVID-19. Older Australians are a resilient bunch, but disconnection from loved ones, information overload, and increased fear and anxiety has really tested their mental resilience during the last 18months.
As it has been said time and time again, in fact it has become somewhat of a mantra – ‘we are all in this together’. There is so much you can do to reconnect, recharge, and reinvigorate the mental wellbeing of your older loved ones as you re-engage with each other as restrictions ease.
Plan a visit.
Having meaningful company brings immeasurable value to our older loved ones’ mental wellbeing and visits are back! We have all tried to keep connected via zoom, FaceTime and telephone, no doubt with mixed success, but we all know the feeling and experience of an in-person visit. A combination of in person and virtual catch ups will bring back some variety to spice up your loved one’s social life and keep the connection strong and more frequent between visits, whether that is you, or your in home care agency visiting. So, if you have had success with virtual communication options, keep them in play. At Home Care Assistance, we know that the joy of companionship can come from many sources. Simply being there for someone is a key part of in home care and can support your loved one’s mental wellbeing when you can’t be there in person.
Have some fun!
Social isolation brings a lack of stimulation which can result in avoidable cognitive decline when ageing in place. Bring back the fun when you visit your loved ones by playing board games, telling jokes, comparing memories about fun times, and get those critical cogs turning in a way that only social stimulation can. Care Workers at Home Care Assistance love a puzzle, or a brain teaser featured and practiced in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method focusing on cognitive stimulation and social engagement. Involving Carer Workers from an in home care agency like Home Care Assistance can bring for more variety and a range of stimulating and fun activities to support overall wellbeing.
Get moving together again.
The strong relationship between mental health and physical health is often overlooked; social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Taking a walk together, throwing a ball or even taking a live online dance or yoga class can provide both the physical and mental health boost your loved one is craving.
Meet new friends.
Support your loved one to make new connections to broaden their social circle. Councils are a great place to find social support in the local community for people ageing in place. There are also dedicated community initiatives aimed at helping those experiencing loneliness, such as FriendLine, Good Karma Network and Neighbourhood Connect. Home Care Assistance can also help you and your loved one to source other relevant social connections and help with transport and companionship along the way.
Give it some structure.
Support your loved one to rediscover activities and events they loved pre-pandemic and set up a routine to keep the social buzz alive when you aren’t there. Having a regular event or commitment like a social card game, a book club, or even a morning coffee date will add pep to your loved ones’ mental wellbeing. Support is also at the ready from any in home care agency and a large part of our Care Workers days at Home Care Assistance can be spent helping people get ready to go out, providing transport to and from activities, or even sharing in the activities for safety or companionship.
When in doubt, ask the professionals.
Reassure your loved ones that it is ok if they are struggling. These are difficult and unprecedented times, and while family, friends and in home care can be a great support, there is so much information and help available nowadays from a range of services such as:
⦁ The COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service (Ph 1800 512 348) which is a partnership between the Australian Government and Beyond Blue.
⦁ Head to Health –brings together apps, online programs, online forums, and phone services, as well as a range of digital information resources.
⦁ Lifeline – Lifeline have developed a website on Mental Health and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
⦁ Embrace Multicultural Mental Health – A national platform for multicultural communities and Australian mental health services to access resources and information in a culturally accessible format.
The value of human connection and its impact on social and emotional health has always been a key part of our care for ageing adults at Home Care Assistance, and we are excited to be able to refocus our in home care on the mental health of all older Australians. The social light is clearly visible at the end of the tunnel, so let’s remember to share that vision with our older loved ones and get excited about re-engaging with each other.
At Home Care Assistance, our in home care agency team can help with resources and support. Our expert Care Workers understand the impacts of poor mental health and have the empathy and resources to help steer your loved one to a healthier mind and body.
Join Our Newsletter
Our Latest News
As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.