FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the dangers of COVID-19 for seniors, many want the opposite of social distance to keep loved ones close.
Seniors Helping Seniors in Fort Myers is helping share a few tips on how to safely show seniors you care, while the coronavirus is circulating through parts of Southwest Florida.
They say our elderly family members, friends, and neighbors need support now more than ever. However, that can be hard due to the risk of exposure.
There are safe ways people can bring joy to an isolated loved one.
First, make sure they stay moving inside and outside for fresh air around their home.
Second, consider writing them a letter or making them a thoughtful care package.
Third, and most important, people should reach out but not in person.
People can set up video calls to lift a senior's spirit and keep them engaged.
“Especially for seniors, they can get very depressed. Many of them are living down here and their families are up north or elsewhere, so it’s important for them to either be making video calls or contact by phone at least to still stimulate their minds with having that social interaction to keep their spirits up," said Evan Zelden, co-owner of Seniors Helping Seniors in Fort Myers.
He says seniors should stay active, social, and close to their normal routine as much as possible. The support of family, friends, and neighbors can definitely help.
The in-home senior care agency he helps operate in Southwest Florida has also made changes to keep caregivers and clients safe.
In March, Seniors Helping Seniors started practicing more social distancing and sanitation. Zelden says the caregivers also wear a mask and gloves when visiting the client's home.
Since caregivers handle essential errands and health needs, their clients are told to remain safely indoors.
“Not going over to neighbor's houses and not having any family come over. We just want to keep those protocols that everybody is supposed to be doing in place, so that everybody stays safe, the caregivers and the receivers of the services we provide," said Zelden.
To limit unknowing exposure, the agency in SWFL isn't accepting new clients at this time. Instead, they are being added to a wait list until it's safe.
Zelden says he's happy to say none of his caregivers have been infected with the virus.
For their latest COVID-19 update or to find more information on Seniors Helping Seniors, click here.
Check out more tips on how to safely care for your elderly loved one by clicking here.