Reach out!

It’s a fact, home is the safest place for all of us to be right now.   But there’s this to consider…social distancing, the smartest way to avoid contact with COVID-19 for ourselves and our communities, will impact those who already live with loneliness or feel the loss of social connection. 

Perceived loneliness and social isolation can lead to depression, poor sleep quality, accelerated cognitive decline, and…if you’re not a smoker, it’s compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having an alcohol use disorder.   It can be twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity (Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2015).

Communication is key to feeling connected.  It’s how we stay informed as well as feel supported, loved, and … not so isolated.  Now is a time for teachable moments.   For many people who have not felt the need to know more about social networking or what it’s like to use video chat, it’s time to learn; we are never too old to learn!

Because home is the safest place to be right now, if you have a professional caregiver bring them in for a few more hours…if you don’t have a professional caregiver in your life, this is the perfect time to start.  It’s not about age, it about connection.  Learn from your caregiver how to better connect with your family, friends, and community through your smart phone or computer.  Home care companies like Touching Hearts at Home have a wonderful staff of people who care and have caregivers on staff who can be your communication/technology coach.  Your caregiver will be happy to teach you what they know about how to maximize your computer for connecting with those outside your home.  Your church services and medical support team are all accessible from the comfort of home.  Your pharmacist and grocer can help you over the phone and deliver right to your door.  You do not have to have a smart phone… if you have a land line or cell phone, you are not alone.  Reach out!

And don’t forget the mail!  Nothing is better than receiving a physical letter! 

Ramona Hunt, M.S., Touching Hearts, Inc.

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