How to address isolation in the elderly

Diario EL PAIS

The British Hospital provides guidelines to minimize the negative impact of confinement on older adults.


Since the social isolation measures were imposed due to the arrival of COVID 19 in the country, the British Hospital arranged for the accompaniment and close monitoring of the elderly members in order to relieve them of attending to their needs in this new context.

 Hospital professionals carried out a series of guidelines or advice aimed at avoiding or minimizing the negative repercussions of confinement on the elderly, ranging from avoiding emotional isolation to adopting healthy routines concerning sleep, physical activity and diet.

 Dr. Malena Barrios and psychologist Ana Charamelo, from the Elder Adult program at the British Hospital, give some very important guidelines.

 "Physical isolation does not mean emotional or social isolation. It is essential to be in contact with those dear to us using these fabulous tools such as cell phones or computers, to make phone calls, video calls with children, grandchildren, friends. And if they are not very familiar with it, there is always time to learn, "said Charamelo.

 The situations are different, depending on whether the elder lives alone, with the family or is institutionalized. If lives in a residential area, the specific protocols must be followed and in the same way in case of those who live with their family regarding hygiene and physical distance "as much as possible," mentioned Barrios.

 Elder adults who live alone must "pay close attention" and be "aware" of their diet and daily routine, she said. She recommended that they have the medication stocked for a month worth, to avoid uncertainty.

 “It is very important to promote an active attitude with care, to promote independence. They need a routine: get up, have breakfast, call a friend, watch TV, if not the day is too long, "she exemplified.

 In the same way, "finding a recreational and occupational activity was an idea that they liked to do." As well as "a time for physical activity, even inside the apartment, two fifteen-minute walks per day." She recalled that the British Hospital made gym classes available for elderly members via Zoom. "Breathing and relaxation exercises help to control these stressful situations," said Charamelo.

She mentioned that it is important to "practice sleep hygiene guidelines," such as no naps decreasing fluid intake in the afternoon and evening, having early and light dinner. Also eating healthy, not skipping meals and doing intellectual or cultural activities, such as reading, watching movies or learning something new that has been postponed.

Finally, she drew the attention to personal and home hygiene care. “Just as we establish routines for sleep, food, it is also important that we dedicate time to our hygiene, personal grooming and our home. Daily bathing as a routine, changing clothes, not staying in pajamas during the day, "she summarized.



  • Share!