There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our lives. The CDC
recommends that all people over 60 stay at home and that all care facilities and senior centers
close to visitors, as the odds of contracting the virus increase significantly with age. Staying at
home and avoiding crowds is essential for everyone, but it can lead to feeling isolated and
lonely, both of which negatively affects mental and physical health. Now is the time to reach out
and connect with others by being creative – together!
Stay connected to others.
If you or your loved one have smartphones, tablets, or laptops, apps such as Skype, Zoom, and
FaceTime allow you to see each other as you talk. It’s a great way to connect with your
grandchildren! Some seniors aren’t as great with technology, and in those cases, a good old-
fashioned phone call is in order. If your loved one is hard of hearing, write them a letter to show
them you care. Share specific things you remember about them so they can reminisce as they
read. For loved ones suffering from dementia and who are living in a care facility, this time can
be particularly confusing, so don’t forget about them. Send photos of them with family and
friends, writing the names and dates on the back.
Stay active and continue living your life.
Walk outdoors in open spaces, sticking to the distancing guidelines. Take up yoga or Tai Chi.
YouTube has plenty of free workouts to explore. You can sync up with a friend and do the same
activity “together.” Continue living your daily life the best you can. Wake up, get dressed, eat
breakfast. Take breaks and get fresh air. Arrange a time to sit down with family and have a “long
distance” dinner together, again, using Skype or FaceTime.
Monitor your news intake.
While it is important to stay informed and follow the guidelines as they are changing day to day,
it can become completely overwhelming. Check the news once or twice a day. The same goes
for social media. While it’s a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends, there is also a lot
of misinformation floating around.
Send care packages.
With many seniors confined to their homes, it is important that healthy younger individuals help
them access essential products and supplies. If you have the financial resources to do so, a
care package can help your loved one weather these tough times. Care packages can include
hard-to-find items such as toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes; non-
perishable food items like canned soups, pasta, nut butters; puzzles, games and books; flower
seeds or plants along with everything they need for a small kitchen herb garden. Drop it by their
porch or mail it.
Participate in online events.
If you or your loved one enjoy art, several well-known museums have “virtual” tours that you can
take and get an up-close look at famous works. Have a guitar? Fender is giving free online
lessons to help during this time. Participate in online spiritual services to lift your mood. Stay
Seek in-home care.
If you or your loved one need extra help such as disinfecting surfaces in your home, light
housekeeping and laundry, preparing meals, medication reminders, prescription and grocery
pickup, consider Assisting Hands® Home Care. Their staff of caregivers are trained in
coronavirus protocol and can provide safe in-home care, while minimizing your risk of exposure.
Now more than ever, we need to look out for one another. Our octogenarians are no strangers
to hardship and doing without. The seniors amongst us are the toughest, most resilient and
resourceful of people, and they have been deeply impacted by this pandemic. Once this has
passed and restrictions change, feel good in knowing you have done your part to help yourself
and others stay safe – mentally as well as physically, and continue these connections.
Important Reminder: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based
hand sanitizer, before writing a letter, card, or sending gifts. If you are sending a care package
to a loved one in a care facility, please be sure to call ahead and ask about their policies.
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month.
May is recognized annually as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Some say that feeling stiff
and having joint pain is an inevitable part of growing older. These experiences can transition
from pains that come and go with the weather to much more serious and even crippling forms of
the condition. Half of all people age 65 and older have been diagnosed with arthritis – most
often osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.
By new estimates, arthritis impacts more than 92.1 million adults in the U.S., making it the
number one cause of disability in the country. The first steps for you or your senior loved one to
combat the pain is understanding your condition and knowing that with proper care and lifestyle
changes, this pain associated with arthritis can be greatly reduced.
Some forms of arthritis are related to lifestyle and genetics, while others are classified as
autoimmune disorders. The most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis (OA), RheumatoidArthritis (RA), infectious arthritis, and gout.
Osteoarthritis is the most type among seniors. It is often related to age, or to an injury, as it
“wears and tears” on the joints. It affects the hands, hips and knees and it gets worse over time.
At its worst, OA can disable a person, leaving them unable to work.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a serious autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system
attacks healthy cells, damaging the joint tissue and leading to chronic pain. It is most common in
women over age 60.
Gout is an extremely painful form of inflammatory arthritis and is, unfortunately common. Gout
often starts in the big toe and is caused by too much uric acid buildup in the body. It has been
directly linked to diet and some medications.
Infectious arthritis is an infection that has spread from one part of the body and settles into a
All forms of arthritis attack joint tissue and bones, and all share many of the same symptoms in
seniors including lasting joint pain, joint swelling and stiffness, tenderness or pain when
touching the joint, problems using or moving a joint, and warmth and redness in the skin over
Currently there is no cure for any of the more than 100 types of arthritis, however, the pain
doesn’t need to interfere with your quality of life. Along with taking the correct medication,
exercise is an essential part of living with any form of arthritis. Focus on flexibility, low-impact
aerobic activities, and strength exercises. As always, talk to your physician before beginning
any form of exercise.
Dietary changes can also help in alleviating pain. Add foods rich in antioxidants and anti-
inflammatory properties such as fruits, vegetables and fatty fish to your diet. Keep check on
foods that increase inflammation like sugars, processed meats, and refined flour.
While doctors are able to treat symptoms, it is also up to us to do what we can to limit the
condition by staying healthy which includes eating right, exercising, and reducing stress. Proper
treatment and support from a doctor or physical therapist is important, as is being proactive
about our personal lifestyle habits.
Know the Facts for National Arthritis Awareness Month
By new estimates 1 in 3 people age 18-64 have arthritis
There are more than 100 forms of this crippling disease
Almost 50% of adults 65 or older reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis