Supporting the elderly during the Covid-19 pandemic
What is the best way to communicate and sometimes "persuade" our elderly loved ones to keep them safe during Coved-19?
Look for a "trusted person"
Older adults may not take your concerns seriously because you are their daughter/son. It may also lead to tension in your conversations with them because they may feel that they are still able to take care of themselves. But they may accept advice from other sources, such as their friends or their favorite media outlet. It is important to figure out the source or person they trust to convey the appropriate messages.
Offer to discuss the crisis and how to manage it with all family members
Seek advice from your parents or grandparents to ensure they feel valued and respected.
For a basic assessment of how your parents or grandparents feel about the pandemic, use questions instead of presenting facts. For example, "What have you heard about this pandemic?" Or "How do you think we prepare for it?" If they seem to underestimate the seriousness of the pandemic, you can tell them: "Do you want to know what worries me?" It's really important to let them invite you to the conversation.
You may want to tell them what you've done to prepare for the pandemic, including purchasing groceries, canceling plans, and storing at least 30 days of medication (including those that you don't use frequently). This allows you to express your concern about them without talking to them or forcing them to do anything. If you do not live near your family, you can offer to send or deliver medicines or other supplies to them. It is important to avoid pressuring them.
Try to understand the motivation behind their behavior
Some elderly people may suffer from dementia, anxiety and depression, spending time with them can help you to understand what your parents may feel to communicate with them better.
Ask yourself: Do they act this way out of habit, to confirm their independence, or because of depression, or because they are confused or suffer from dementia? What do they fear? Identifying the cause or root causes of your parent's behavior can help you determine the best way to make positive changes.
Treat your parents like adults
When it comes to dealing with elderly parents, remember this: Above all, the goal is to help your parents receive the best possible care. You're more likely to get positive results by treating your elderly parents as adults. This applies to even simple tasks, such as helping your parents remember to take medications.
Find an outlet for your feelings
If you are angry or upset about one of your elderly parents refusing to move to a safer living condition or taking medication as directed, it is important to vent it - but not with your parents. Instead, trust a friend, brother, therapist, or online support group, this is especially important if you are the primary caregiver of your parents. No matter how much you care about your mother and your father, it is easy to feel frustrated, fearful, and anxious when constantly dealing with their irrational behavior. Beware of that by taking care of yourself, find activities to help release negative emotions.
Plan for the future and talk about those plans
Aging is full of challenges - for the elderly and their children. What do you do when an elderly parent refuses to take care of them? Nevertheless you have to listen. By caring for their needs in addition to listening to the advice of specialists.
Watch this interview with Dr. Al-Mutassim Al-Maamari and Dr. Hamad Al-Senawi (Senior Consultant Psychiatrist) on the psychological effects of Covid-19 on the elderly.