6 ways those 65+ can embrace life during the pandemic

When stay-at-home is a necessity, a little creativity can help you stay healthy.

If you’re one of the 52 million Americans ages 65 and older who call the United States home, you might be searching for ways to combat the loneliness that can arise while you shelter in place. For many, the negative effects of social isolation may have already been a part of their lives before COVID-19. If this rings true for you, it might be a great time to start a new daily routine. Here are six ways you can continue to protect your health — and your happiness — throughout the pandemic.

  1. Listen to the experts.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that adults 65 are at a higher risk for severe illness, and advise staying home whenever possible. Yet there may be times when you need to leave your home. Instead of going yourself, consider reaching out to a younger friend to make the trip for you. There are also several on-demand services you can use such as grocery and restaurant delivery. Your local grocery stores may now offer home delivery as well, even if they didn’t before; just be sure to call and ask.

    As for your prescriptions? You can arrange to have refills delivered to your home, so you don’t have to worry about skipping your medication.

  2. Stay connected to friends and family.
    Staying at home doesn’t mean you have to give up all social interactions. You can still send letters, post- cards, and emails to the people that are dear to you. And, of course, you can always rely on a good old-fashioned phone call. If you’re feeling more technologically inclined, you can also use smartphone and tablet video messaging apps to get one-on-one time with your friends and family.

    Another way to stay active within your social circle is to start a book club with regularly scheduled video chat meetings. Pick out an eBook for the group to read, and set a date for you to get together using one of the video chat services listed above.

  3. Prioritize exercise.
    According to the CDC, “regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. It can help delay, prevent, or manage many costly chronic diseases faced by adults 50 years or older.”

    You don’t have to leave the house to get the proper amount of exercise every day. You can find a wide range of home workout videos freely available on our Wellvolution programs, which can help you customize at-home workouts that work for you.

  4. Eat healthy.
    You may be feeling the urge to stock up on nonperishables right now. But preparedness shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. Local Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) can help you get the fresh foods your body needs, like fruit, vegetables, eggs, and bread. Many offer delivery to your door.

    Not only will buying fresh food from a CSA help you eat healthy during this time, it will also give you the satisfaction of knowing that your money is supporting local farmers and businesses. If you find you need something immediately, many grocery stores are now offering special senior hours to keep you safer while shopping. Call or visit the website of your local supermarket to see what they’re doing to make your visit safer for you.

  5. Care for your mental health.
    The loneliness of physical distancing can take a toll on your mental health. Consider contacting your medical provider who can provide local resources to help you cope with any changes to your mental health, and provide the most reliable recommendations on how to stay well.

    If you’re not sure who to call, the CDC in partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, has created lists of organizations (PDF, 1.6 MB) who offer emotional support and share the latest research on mental health and aging.

  6. Stay in touch with your doctor.
    Your health is just as important now as ever. If you think you need to see your doctor for other medical concerns, call them to schedule a consultation.

    Additionally, most doctors may offer alternative ways to provide you with care, such as phone calls or video chat. They’ll be able to talk with you about your symptoms and prescribe your medicines, but in the comfort and safety of your own home.

The weight of the coronavirus pandemic can feel a lot heavier when you’re part of a higher-risk population. For now, continue to focus on taking good care of yourself, and do your best to stay connected.

To stay up-to-date on all our latest COVID-19 news, advice, and resources visit our Blue Shield of California COVID-19 site.