SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Although the holidays are a time to gather with loved ones, because of the pandemic, many seniors are staying isolated.
According to AARP, a recent survey they conducted showed two thirds of adults say they are experiencing social isolation and 66 % say their anxiety levels have increased because of the pandemic. Adding the holidays on top of that can have a huge impact on someone’s mental health.
One way AARP recommends seniors connecting to others while socially distant is doing so virtually. Whether that be eating Thanksgiving with them, baking your favorite holiday meal at the same time, or watching your favorite holiday movie, doing so over a video call can make things still feel special. The Senior Friendship Center is currently teaching seniors and their families how to use Zoom so they can stay connected.
AARP also suggests people send their loved one who is a senior holiday decorations to brighten their mood. They say people could also decorate outside the senior’s home so they can see the decorations when they look out their window.
The Area Agency on Aging Southwest Florida is also providing support to seniors during these hard times.
“We are making strides to make sure that we are reaching out to our elderly population. Calling those that are in need, also addressing any of the mental health issues that they’re having so we can make sure that they have a contact and that there is someone there for them during this holiday time,” said Norma Adorno, who is The Area Agency on Aging Southwest Florida’s Chief Executive Officer.
The agency is also working with The Department of Elder Affairs on the Together Apart Holidays at Heart campaign. The campaign offers programs to seniors in our area over the holiday season to help cope with mental health issues and feelings of depression. People can also call their senior help hotline at 866-413-5337.