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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.