Some residents may be having a harder time coping with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. University of Texas Health’s Carmel Dyer warned that prolonged isolation can cause seniors’ immune systems to decline and reduce chemical stimulation in the brain, leading to depression. They may want to sleep all of the time, be eating less, and their memory may change suddenly.
One way to mitigate isolation is to get residents more involved. “As much as folks can take advantage of the technology, the Zoom calls, have them call their friends, have them write letters,” Dyer said. Connections using Ava the iRobot, as well as encouraging outdoor family visits are other options.
If you notice a resident looking uncharacteristically blue, sleeping a lot, not eating, or experiencing sudden memory loss, please reach out, try suggesting one of the above activities, to stimulate connection.