Tag Archives: Older Adults

How Older Adults Can Stay Healthy During COVID-19

(reprinted and edited with permission from Redfin)

In the age of COVID-19, more colloquially known as the Coronavirus, and as an older adult, your health and personal safety have never been more important. The world seems very different than it was just weeks ago, but the rise of a pandemic just reaffirms what is most important: friends, family, and your health. Social distancing can be stressful, but it is among the best ways to minimize risk to both you and those around you. If you are stuck at home during these trying times, follow these health and wellness tips for older adults to stay healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.

Get Some Exercise

Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind while stuck inside, especially while handling the stress of rapidly changing circumstances. However, even a little movement can do wonders for your overall mental, physical, and emotional health.

Depending on your physical abilities, there are many different kinds of things you can do to exercise without leaving the house. From going up and down the stairs a few times to walking laps in your home or even jogging in place, doing jumping jacks (yup, remember doing them as a kid), or just siting down and getting up from a chair numerous times, a little physical movement goes a long way in helping you feel your best. The internet is full of programs, too; fitness apps, streaming sites, and even YouTube offer countless avenues for at-home workouts at all levels of intensity and ability.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Keeping your immune system healthy is vital important and sleep is a key component of good maintenance. Sleeping seems like a simple thing to achieve while spending all day at home, but day after day without the routines of jobs, hobbies, and social outings can make time seem meaningless. It is easy to slip into negative habits, like going to bed too late out of a desire to catch just one more episode of your favorite show.

No matter what your at-home habits look like, try to establish a regular time to go to sleep and to get up in the morning. This can feel a little silly at first, especially if you have nowhere to go, but maintaining a schedule can keep your circadian rhythm in check, helping you to stay both mentally and physically healthy.

Eat Healthy Meals

Being stuck inside all day with nowhere to go can make it easy to justify a little extra junk food, but a healthy and balanced diet is a critical part of your wellness. Overall, your diet plays an important role in sustaining your immune system, so eating a steady diet of potato chips while practicing social distancing can cause you more harm than good.

When planning meals, make sure to include as many leafy greens as possible in addition to servings of fruit and protein. If regular access to fresh produce is limited, frozen alternatives are a fine substitute. Include a daily vitamin as well to hit on all the nutrients you may not be getting through diet alone. Maintaining a healthy diet is a vital part of older adults staying healthy during coronavirus.

Find New Hobbies

Sometimes, daily life feels too busy to find time to learn new skills or experiment with new leisure activities. Now, without a way to fall back on the same old habits and duties that have kept you distracted, there’s plenty of time to try something new.

Even without going outside, there are plenty of ways for older adults to stay busy at home. You could consider joining a virtual book club, taking open online courses on platforms like Coursera or edX to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. Learning to sew, knit, or cross-stitch, taking up puzzles, baking, canning, cooking elaborate dishes, or even playing virtual card games with friends online. With more free time to devote to the little things in life, you can find new ways to enjoy your leisure time.

Keep in Touch

Not being able to see friends, children, grandchildren, and extended family members can make you feel isolated if you live alone. Humans are social animals and extended distancing from necessary social interaction is often uncomfortable or distressing. Luckily, technology makes it possible to stay in touch, whether your family is across the street or around the world.

From Skype to FaceTime, it’s possible to stay connected with your friends and family, without meeting up in person. Even texting can be a great way to check-in. A simple message to a loved one and a kind response can be enough to create the kind of connection you’re missing while staying at home and staying healthy during coronavirus.

Make Plans for the Future

Staying at home and socially distancing yourself may feel like a very uncertain set of circumstances, but there’s good news: it won’t last forever. Sooner or later, the world will right itself, and life will go back to normal. And when it does, what do you want to do?

From trips to Florida with friends to dinners with your family, it’s important to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. The things you miss doing now will be available soon, so don’t let yourself be consumed by stress that can come with this challenging situation. Think up a meal plan for a family dinner, research venues for your next family reunion, or put together an itinerary for your dream vacation. It’s easier to be happier at home when you have something to look forward to.

Check-In With Yourself

It can be overwhelming to have your whole world change essentially overnight, especially when you don’t know what the immediate future may hold. In these times, it’s important to check in with yourself and make sure you are meeting your basic needs.

Do you feel emotionally healthy? Physically healthy? How is your morale?

By taking time to evaluate your wellbeing as well as your individual needs, it becomes easier to keep your health headed in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, the increase in telehealth services makes it easy to speak to your physician or a licensed counselor without leaving your home.

Staying as healthy as possible is always important, but now more than ever your focus should be on remaining as resilient as possible. With these tips for older adults to stay healthy during coronavirus, you can make the most of your time at home.

About the Author
is part of the content marketing team at Redfin and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Seniors and Depression: How Medicare Can Help

Depression can be caused by genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, serious medical conditions, faulty mood regulation in the brain, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other factors. It affects people of all ages, including more than 35 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And unfortunately, depression in seniors is often more severe and has lower remission rates than in younger adults. However, Medicare can cover some types of depression therapy and treatment.

Signs of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults often include ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness, as well as lack of motivation, loss of interest in hobbies, neglect of personal care, decrease in appetite, increase in sleep disturbances, alcohol or drug abuse, fixation on death, and thoughts of suicide. Also, some seniors don’t feel sad at all. In many cases, the predominant symptom of depression in older people is often physical complaints, such as headaches, arthritis pain, and other ailments.

If you or someone in your life is experiencing the signs of depression, professional help is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Mental Health

When choosing Medicare coverage, it’s important to consider current mental health needs, as well as issues that may arise in the future. Begin by finding a mental health provider that accepts Medicare by using the search function on the Medicare website. Inpatient and outpatient mental health services can be covered, depending on your policies.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health treatment and services in a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. However, for psychiatric hospital stays, there is a 190-day lifetime limit. In either instance, you will need to pay your deductible, and then your Medicare coverage would kick in. Examine your policy for details about possible daily hospital coinsurance amounts.

Original Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including an annual depression screening, diagnostic testing, and medication management. Evaluations, counseling, and therapy by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and certain other providers are also covered. As long as a participating Medicare provider that accepts assignment is utilized, Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of these services. Providers who take assignment have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amounts for covered services. Some patients may find it difficult to pay their share, but Medigap insurance can cover those costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same services as Original Medicare; plus, they can provide additional treatment options. For example, some plans have management programs for patients suffering from depression. This program offers counseling, coaching, and support by care management staff to help patients adhere to treatment for depression.

During the Open Enrollment Period each year (October 15 to December 7), you should evaluate your health care needs and figure out if you need to make any changes. During Open Enrollment, seniors can switch over from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Switching to a different Medicare Advantage plan is also possible, and you can also sign up for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) during this time.

Age-related diseases can worsen depression symptoms, and conversely be worsened by depression. If you or someone close to you is dealing with depression or other mental health issues, it’s important to get help in the form of professional counseling, medication, and/or other treatments. If the person in question is a senior, there is proof that they need to get help is even greater. Talk to your family and your healthcare provider to find assistance. It’s possible to secure successful treatment and get back to living a fulfilling life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhilll is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.