The world is full of eternal optimists, which is why even in a pandemic, many are calling for a re-wiring of the way we lived – BC (Before COVID) and AC (After COVID) – content in the knowledge that we might, perhaps, be on the precipice of a new way of living.
Never before has humanity collectively had such an opportunity strengthened through a profound shared experience.
During the months it has taken for the reality of COVID-19 to really sink in, most people around the world who had been waiting in hope for a vaccine are now confronting the worrying possibility that the coronavirus might become endemic, meaning that with no effective countermeasures it is here to stay.
In a casual conversation with my mother the other day I mentioned this, and felt the truth of my words sink in. For many retirees and senior citizens, their silver years are meant to be a phase for slowing down and relaxing in a lifestyle and a world they are accustomed to. Suddenly the public health measures feel like a restriction on the way of life as they know it.
While it is no surprise many of us spend much of our adulthood in a rat race of accomplishments, in the hope that one day in our retirement, we can enjoy the fruits of their labour, life today is teaching us that all we have is the here, and now.
And it’s up to us to make the present day meaningful. Augustine "Og" Mandino, an American author, famously said, “I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
So what can senior citizens do? Below are some helpful tips on how seniors can enjoy their retirement years in this new normal.
Make friends with technology: The pace of change is hard enough to contend with, that adding technology to the mix can suddenly feel daunting. But getting familiar with the latest tools and apps can in fact bridge the physical barriers and generational divide. Research conducted by Western Sydney University’s BabyLab found about 40% of grandparents surveyed began using video calls with their grandchildren for the first time during COVID-19. For all those surveyed, it was a mostly positive experience.
Find a hobby: Did you know having a hobby can improve your mental health? A study published in the psychology journal says so. Though it might feel difficult to identify a new interest in old age, pursuing old passions or interests could be a good way to start, and having company always helps.
Don’t bottle up your emotions: Social restrictions and life in quarantine can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially among the elderly. Speaking to qualified staff and health professionals can ease some of the emotional and psychological burdens.
Embrace the new normal: Life in AC (After COVID) will be the way we live in the future. While resisting change and hoping things return to the way they were is natural, the reality according to experts is that we will face many infectious disease outbreaks in the future. Taking necessary precautions are important, but making minor adjustments to life can ensure we continue living life to the fullest.
theconversation.com (Grandparent-grandchildren video calls are vital during COVID-19. Here are simple ways to improve them)
www.tandfonline.com (Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of St. John's Home for Elderly Persons.
St John's Home for Elderly Persons is not a government-subvented Home and depend largely on the public's generosity to enable us to continue our work as a Registered Charity.
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