How to Manage a COVID-19 Outbreak as a Senior #2

During an outbreak of COVID-19, slowing the spread of the disease necessarily involves

limiting unnecessary in-person social contact. A city government, state government, national

government, or employer may ask the people for whom they are responsible to stay at home as

much as possible. Staying home for long periods often exacerbates physical or mental hardships

in people’s lives, especially for those that live alone. Here are outlined various best practices for

maintaining one’s wellness during isolation.



During self-isolation, days become more unstructured because our schedules lose the

restraint on our time that comes with a commute. Dysregulation of your body’s rhythms can

cause mood swings and irregular sleep. Going to sleep, waking up, and eating meals, all at the

same time each day can give some structure to unscheduled days. Find some activities you like

and commit to doing them at a fixed time each day.



Every day, news outlets release more and more reading material about the novel

coronavirus. Make sure to only read the most useful and informative content. Reading lots of

news articles can make one feel increasingly pessimistic, angry, or stressed. Don’t read so much

news that it affects your mental state during a period of self-isolation when you may be more

sensitive to negative emotions.


The Obvious Leisure Options: Books, Articles, Television, Movies, Music

During self-isolation, one likely indulges more in the little escapist activities that one

indulged in before beginning self-isolation began. Exercise moderation with the typical forms of

recreation: books, articles, television, movies, music. An excellent way to make these activities more

gratifying is to practice theming. For example, if one finds oneself listening to lots of music during the

day, then try to listen to one genre or artist continuously and see what you can

observe as a general theme running through all the pieces you listen to. If watching movies, try

watching only one genre of film or the works of only one director for a whole week. Perhaps

only read books or articles by the same author and absorb their writing style. With theming, one

can appreciate art forms in a more rewarding way during long periods of engagement.

Also, But Not Quite As Obvious: Exercise, Cleaning, Cooking, Beverages



While self-isolation precludes going to the gym, one can still get exercise by finding an

at-home workout on the internet. One can do lots of exercises, both aerobic and anaerobic,

without leaving one’s dwelling.

Also, consider going on walks in the neighborhood. Taking new routes and exploring

new parts of the area around your home feels good. If you do go for walk make sure to bring your

Vital Link On-The-Go device to ensure that you can always get help you need it.



One experiences one’s space as an extension of one’s mind. Spending lots of time in the

house can yield thoughts and feelings if the area is clean or dirty. Happier room, happier mental

state, especially so when lots of time is spent indoors. Try doing a deep clean of your space, and

even beautifying it. Also, the activity of cleaning feels rewarding as well as reducing your risk of falls by

removing clutter.



Self-isolation precludes going to restaurants and cafes. However, the extra time at home

presents an excellent opportunity to learn how to make a favorite food or drink item. Find a

recipe online. Even your favorite hot beverage or cocktail, when carefully and procedurally

made, can serve as a rewarding routine to give structure and pleasure to your time inside.


Human Contact

Humans are social animals. The phenomenon of people thriving in isolation from others

exists as an exception to the general rule that people lead healthier mental lives inside a

community of others. Self-isolation precludes many normal social activities, so it is crucial to

find ways of spending time with others without close contact. If you are finding that you are going stir

crazy at home press you Vital Link button and speak with one of our response center operators. We are

always here when you need us.


Social Media

The human contact provided by social media feels more superficial than does more

intimate forms of interaction. To feel close to others in a time of isolation, turn to the other

options listed here and not social media.


Video Chat

Services like Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or WhatsApp all allow people to do video calls

with one another. Video calls are an excellent substitute for a lunch date or a happy hour with

friends. Find fun activities to do together on the video call. This option is only restricted in that

video calls require a rather good internet connection. With lousy internet, the conversation gets

interrupted by pauses in the audio or video, which feels frustrating.


Telephone Conversation

The visual component of a video call is nice, but with a traditional phone call, there

is a lesser likelihood of frustrating signal interruption.



Writing a long-form email to a close friend or family member can serve as a refreshing

way to interact with a human being. A long, thoughtful, personal email can feel intimate and

satisfy our need for interpersonal contact. This method is also more comfortable than texting

because it is easier to type a lot of text on a keyboard than it is on a cell phone.


Further Ideas for Hobbies

Using one’s hands for a meaningful task, and using one’s mind for a meaningful task, are

two important components for long term well being.


Things to do with Hands

Wood Carving, Sewing/Quilting and Origami

One can procure the necessary components of sewing/quilting, wood carving, or origami

with relative ease. These activities challenge one’s dexterity and creativity.


Gardening, Model Cars/Planes

For a more guided activity, try gardening or making model cars/planes. Successfully

growing healthy plants, or completing a model, instigate feelings of accomplishment.


Things to Do with Your Brain



Try meditating. Training your mindfulness and relaxing with mediation is a great way to

use one’s alone time during self-isolation.



Is there an abandoned guitar or piano in your household? Try to pick it up and see if you

can progress as a musician. Lots of tutorials on YouTube, or apps on your device, can help teach

you to play an instrument. Or, try playing around on music production software like Garage



Learn about fall prevention

There are many good resources out there to learn about fall prevention. We have some resources

available on our website about fall prevention but there are also many helpful videos on YouTube.


Games or Puzzles

To stay mentally stimulated during quarantine, try crossword puzzles, sudoku, or jigsaw

puzzles. For something more competitive, try playing chess or go (the ancient east Asian board

game) for free online or on an app against your friends or strangers.


Language Learning

To learn something fun and useful, try learning a new language using an app or online

service. Learning a language can help keep you stimulated and your mind sharp during the time

spent alone.


During a COVID-19 outbreak, it is as important as ever to be prepared in case of an emergency. If you or

a loved one is elderly or living with a disability, consider a medical alert system from Vital Link to ensure

that whoever needs help is always a button-push away from personal contacts or emergency services.