April 14, 2020

Helping older adults who may feel isolated amid pandemic

These simple ideas can help ease concerns and raise the spirits of older loved ones, neighbors, and acquaintances.

Dr. Felicia Wong shares helpful advice for supporting older adults who may be feeling lonely due to physical isolation.

We humans are social creatures, thriving best when we can give and receive support from one another. During the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on social contact can be especially difficult for older adults with health conditions who rely on regular visits with family, friends, or care providers. They may be feeling lonely and concerned about getting the help they need.

If you have a loved one, neighbor, or acquaintance who is unable to leave their home, Felicia Wong, MD, a psychiatrist at the Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center, says you can help them a great deal just by staying in contact with them and providing reassurance.

In this short video, Dr. Wong shares a few simple things you can do to help ease the concerns and raise the spirits of isolated older adults during this time:

  • Check in with them frequently by phone or, even better, by video.
  • Encourage them to stick to their routine as much as possible.
  • Support them in staying in touch with their friends and family.
  • Encourage them to limit their exposure to news.
  • And be sure to take care of yourself. When you are thriving, you are best able to help others thrive.