"Because of the coronavirus, high-risk individuals should avoid crowds and social gatherings and stay home as much as possible. However, when dealing with our senior population, there is so much more that must be taken into consideration," says Melissa Negrin Wiener, partner at Genser Cona Elder Law, Melville, N.Y.
"In the wake of COVID-19, we are seeing closures of senior centers as well as cancellations of social groups, book clubs, bingo games, etc. In addition, it is recommended that seniors do not visit with family and friends. This has hit the elderly hard and exacerbated feelings of loneliness, detachment, sadness, and depression."
Technology, Wiener adds, "is going to be key in protecting the mental health of our seniors. Family members and friends need to make it their business to engage in texting, FaceTime, Skype, video conferencing, and even just basic telephone calls. Letters and cards from loved ones will also serve to help deal with feelings of loneliness."
In addition, "we should also make sure that our aging loved ones have things to keep their brains working. Perhaps they enjoy reading, word games, puzzles, or books on tape. We need to ensure that they have what they need to keep their minds active."