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Opinion: Four COVID-19 seniors' health suggestions

Mental, physical, health strategies

Staying healthy during this pandemic requires changes in our daily lives. Some of these changes are easier than others. All changes are attempts to keep us healthy in all its dimensions.

1. COVID-19 effects on older adults

• Older adults may feel challenged by changes to find information assistance with today's technology. There are new systems to get food and medication.  Older adults may be wary being in public places.  

• Some communities are not age-friendly. Since over 90 per cent of seniors do not live in long-term care facilities, social isolation can become a real and serious issue.  This population needs to be included in planning for parks and streets, etc.  

• Our health-care system has not evolved with population changes. Solutions proposed in the past need to be reviewed and implemented as appropriate to meet the needs of an increasingly aging population.  

2. Mental and physical health

• Routine!  Get up and go to bed at reasonable times and the same time daily.  Do not feel guilty if you get up later than before COVIC-19.  Use your lists making them varied and interesting.  Decrease screen time and limit videogames.  

• Abuse is reportedly increasing during this pandemic.  Victims may include children, people of either sex, or even seniors.  People need not be embarrassed if they find they are abuse victims.  Advice can be obtained by phoning our Mountain View Emergency Shelter Society at 403 – 586-4765 or phone 911 for emergencies.  

•  Increases in the use of alcohol and other drugs has been attributed to the pandemic with its preventative measures.  Report concerns of usage to AA at 403-728-3700 and/or to family physicians and for emergencies call 911.

• Have a laugh a day – cartoons, TV shows or old books.  These may make help control stress levels.

3. Health strategies

• Stay or become physically active for at least 30 minutes daily.  Adults with impaired mobility should include exercises to improve balance and prevent falls. 

Climbing up and down stairs, dancing, and doing stretches to music can all be healthy exercise options,   

Children aged 5 – 17 years should have 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

People over 18 years should have 150 minutes moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity daily.   

• Limit screen time at bedtime.  Keep informed about news from reliable sources including WHO and COVID-19 Alberta and/or Canada.  Limit news paper reading and media news that makes you feel anxious. Be aware time spent playing videogames.   

4. Coping strategies

• Social isolation may become a factor if you are unable to or feel unsafe in visiting families.  Use social media to keep in touch and/or use the telephone to maintain friendships.  

• The Olds & District Evergreen Centre has a limited amount of activities still available. Phone at 403-556-8515 and leave a message.  The Mountain View Museum is now open with all safety precautions. Phone 403-556-8515 for their hours. The Olds Municipal Library is open and can be reached at 403-556-6460. 

To find the hours and programs at the Olds Royal Canadian Legion call 403-556-6406.  

• Other activities - Go for outdoor walks – we have great walking trails for seniors.  Plan a new hobby, take up music, art, or a new language.

• Many of our churches are offering services, perhaps in a new format, and they are all still welcoming people to our community.    

As we look forward to the pandemic’s end, we can do so while enjoying life, new friends, and activities.  Take Care!

Submitted by the Age-Friendly Committee of Olds Institute.