Wellness: How to tackle anxiety in seniors amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting seniors. Seniors have to deal with an increase in mortality rates, physical ailment, chronic illness, insomnia, and a decrease in mobility and independence. There is no doubt that social distancing will exacerbate already existing feelings of anxiety and depression among seniors.

In a study conducted by the American Psychiatry Association, nearly 40% of the participants were anxious about “becoming ill or dying from the virus while 62% of the participants were anxious about the possibility of a family member or loved one contacting the virus.

While anxiety levels increase in the world, it is important to focus on the most important demographic of the population – the elderly. Seniors are the most susceptible to the coronavirus because they may already have existing issues, and their immune system may not be strong enough to fight the virus.

Fortunately, our team has been able to come up with five tips on alleviating anxiety in seniors:

  1. Maintain physical health: It is important that seniors eat a well-balanced meal. This includes healthy portions of grains, carbs, proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Although they are susceptible to the virus, it is best to try every way possible to maintain a good immune system. It is also advised that seniors should exercise regularly, even if it means taking walks in their rooms or down the hallway. However, seniors should ensure that they avoid overcrowded places. Seniors can also practice stretches in their own living spaces.
  2. All-round rest: Seniors can participate in breathing exercises and practice focusing on only calm thoughts. Some psychologists have found that counting 1, 2, 3, 4 … can help people feel relaxed. According to a 2005 poll conducted by Gallup, 4 in 10 over the age of 50 find themselves worrying so much at night instead of falling asleep, while 1 in 4 had trouble staying asleep. We believe seniors should get enough sleep hours and be well-rested. We’ve found apps like Calm to be very helpful and listening to soothing sounds like instrumentals or natural soundtracks. We encourage seniors to get optimal rest.
  3. Engage in mind-stimulating activities: Seniors can engage in hobbies or mind-stimulating activities that bring them joy. It can be activities like coloring, knitting, watching their favorite show, playing games like trivia on their mobile devices. Engaging in activities like these can keep seniors from worrying about the current storm. Although this is a temporary measure, it has proved to be effective in alleviating anxiety among seniors.
  4. Crafting out new routines: We are aware that a shift in routines for our seniors can lead to increased stress levels. Seniors who have dementia are the most at risk because they don’t have a full grasp of their current reality. The challenge we face is setting a new round of routines. It is important to be extremely patient with seniors as you assist them in crafting out new routines and forming new habits. Creating routines can help them gain a sense of normalcy.
  5. Digital interaction: The CDC has stated it is best to practice social distancing. This behavioral change may threaten the way we perceive the world and interact with each other. Although we are not sure of the full ramifications of this quarantine, we are still hopeful that we would gain some sense of normality soon.

We advise family members to stay connected digitally. Social media has made it easy for us to feel connected in some way. We have found that it is helpful to check on senior loved ones at the beginning and at the end of the day (just before they retire for the night. This can exists in the form of video chats, texts, pictures, etc. Stay connected. It can be as simple as asking them how they’re doing and how they are coping with the stress.

Feelings of loneliness are more prevalent in seniors. We have found that seniors with  strong external support tend to do better emotionally. We know digital interactions are not the same as physical, social interactions. This inconvenience is only for a little while, and we will get through it.

*If anxiety/stress levels persist, consider consulting a healthcare professional.


During this time, our seniors require additional measures of care. We are doing our best to their needs (food, medication, baths) while simultaneously ensuring their optimal safety.

If you are reading this, and you’re worried about your loved one at GYC; we’ve come to tell you, “do not worry, they are in good hands.”

Here at GYC, we treat our seniors like our own family.





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