Members of the public are being urged to continue to check on older relatives, friends and neighbours during the current lockdown.
ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has expressed concern about the mental and physical health of older people during the current lockdown, some of whom have been isolating and/or social distancing since last March.
"While we understand the importance of keeping older people safe from COVID-19, we also recognise the negative effects of the pandemic on the older people in our society. We are encouraging older people to mind their mental health in the coming weeks and to develop a routine which will help them to stay positive during these difficult times.
"Even something as small as calling a friend, going for a short walk or practicing a hobby can make a world of difference when it comes to mental wellbeing," commented ALONE chief executive, Sean Moynihan.
He said that while COVID-19 has been difficult for everybody, older people "are among the groups most affected by the pandemic".
"The level of support we have seen from members of the public so far has been amazing, and we hope to keep this momentum up until COVID-19 is a thing of the past.
"We are reminding older people that there is light at the end of the tunnel as vaccines are rolled out across the country and that if we all continue to follow the guidelines to keep each other safe, we will get through the coming weeks together," Mr Moynihan noted.
As well as encouraging members of the public to regularly check on the older people in their lives, ALONE is also encouraging older people to follow the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing', which will help with their mental and physical health. These are:
-Connect. ALONE encourages older individuals to pick up the phone to their friends, neighbours and relatives to try and curb feelings of loneliness and social isolation. ALONE has also suggested a number of ways in which members of the public can safely support the older people in their lives, for example, regular phone calls or offering to pick up groceries or prescriptions
-Be Active. ALONE is encouraging older people to keep to a routine, stay active and exercise outside during daylight hours where possible, however the organisation also urges people to be careful while out walking. Long periods of physical inactivity may result in deconditioning and loss of muscle mass, resulting in an increased fall risk among older people. Each year, one in three adults age 65 and older falls, mostly at home. Falls are the leading cause of injury, disability and admission to nursing homes for this group
-Take Notice. Take notice of the world around you. When you are spending time outdoors, take notice of the smells, sounds and experiences you are having. Take a second to listen to your thoughts and seek out support if you are experiencing feelings of worry, anxiety or even if you just want somebody to talk to. If you are having concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know, ALONE's National Support Line is available seven days a week from 8am - 8pm on 0818 222 024
-Keep Learning. Learning helps to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Try learning to cook a new dish, baking a tasty treat, become a penpal to somebody in your life or journal the thoughts that come to your mind each morning and night. Make a pact with a friend to give them a call once a week while you share parts of your learning journey with each other. This will keep you staying connected while doing something you enjoy.
-Give. Commit to an act of kindness towards another individual once a week or if you can manage, once a day. By helping others, you are directly helping yourself and making someone else happy in the process.
For more information on ALONE, click here.
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