Despite being protected against the coronavirus, many newly-vaccinated seniors are still hesitant to see loved ones or resume “daily life” in public and risk infection. However, simply having some extra support from loved ones can do wonders to reassure them.
Here are five simple ways to support the vaccinated seniors in your life while easing them back into the world.
1. Take it slow.
When helping seniors resume pre-pandemic activity after their vaccination, make sure you take it slow. Forcing situations they’re not comfortable being in will only mount stress, anxiety, and frustration. Take baby steps to ensure a more seamless foray back into the world.
It’s also important to remember that every person, regardless of age, has different comfort levels — which may be an additional cause of stress. In groups of vaccinated seniors with differing views about resuming daily life, it’s important each person feels heard and free to do whatever they’re comfortable with at that time. Encourage them to be patient with themselves and their neighbors or friends; just because one person feels comfortable doesn’t mean everyone in their circle must force themselves to catch up to that sentiment.
2. Start with the ‘inner circle’ of close loved ones.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, social anxiety has become more acute during COVID-19. Mitigate that anxiety by limiting the circle of “outside” visitors seniors will see first. Even if strangers or unnecessary company are vaccinated, it will give more peace of mind to vaccinated seniors if they’re only in contact with loved ones (family and close friends).
3. Validate their feelings.
No one likes to feel like the “odd one out” or be told their fears or concerns are baseless. Instead, support your vaccinated senior’s concerns by validating what they’re feeling. Listen to their concerns, understand the uncertainty of the mid-pandemic world we live in, and let them know being worried is normal. In fact, a study done in April 2020 found that a percentage of people met the requirements for being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning to work. Having concerns is not unnatural; it’s a normal response to very not-normal times.
4. Reassure them with logic and kindness.
Before jumping in to reassure the stressed-out senior, intently listen to the problems they foresee or the things they’re most worried about. Then, reiterate what you heard so they feel understood, and when answering, use facts to reassure them and put their worries at ease. You can also point them to the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Facts and Myths page, which offers factual answers to pervasive COVID-19 myths.
Many seniors worry about the effectiveness of the vaccine and whether it’s OK to be more social after receiving it. By going over the facts, you’ll help them understand the risks and how protected they really are, so they’re not as hesitant to get back out there.
5. Have them speak to their doctor or a therapist.
Sometimes a trustworthy friend or caretaker isn’t enough. COVID-19 has shaken the population to its core. Many people have developed more anxiety, stress, and even depression amid the ongoing pandemic. Offering additional support through professionals expertly equipped to understand and help combat these deep-rooted fears and anxieties is a great way to support and care for the vaccinated senior in your life.
Have more questions about senior living? We’re here to help.
Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Company can connect you with the right senior living community for your aging loved one. We represent hundreds of Florida communities and offer hands-on, concierge services to help you find the best fit for your family’s needs and budget. Contact us today and discover how we can help you and your family find peace of mind during these challenging times.