Coronavirus Pandemic and Senior Living
Coronavirus Pandemic and Senior Living… What Do You Do During a Global Pandemic?
Over the past few weeks, you have likely been dealing with a bit of information overload. The world has been facing a global pandemic, and it may feel like no matter what you do, it is impossible to avoid the news. Since the outbreak spread around the world, we have seen many different reactions to the pandemic, some individuals go about their daily routines as if nothing has happened and some go into apocalypse mode, hoarding food (and of course, toilet paper).
In a crisis like this, the most important thing to do is try to be calm but take it very, very seriously. At step2health, we understand that this is an extremely anxiety-inducing time for everyone, and the misinformation in the media can make the current state of the world even more confusing and anxiety-inducing, which is why we are here to help.
Below, we go over tips to avoid misinformation, and helpful tips to keep you safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, we will get through this.
Misinformation...What is it?
Misinformation can be classified as information that is false but is not intended to cause harm. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused havoc among the media and misinformation is spreading like wildfire.
When the whole world is panicking over the uncertainty of “what’s next” misinformation is almost unavoidable, and becoming an information monitor is difficult there is so much information out there to police.
A popular mode of misinformation communication is text messages. In mid-March, many were getting fake texts from their loved ones saying that someone from Homeland Security heard that the U.S. military was to deploy soldiers to enforce Marshall Law, which would put the United States under total military control — a law typically used after a major disaster, invasion, or terrorist attack.
This infamous text message sent panic across the nation — parents were ordering their children home from college, families stocked up on rice and beans. The Marshall Law rumor was promptly shut down, however, it shed a lot of light on how easy it is to get caught up in false information, especially when everyone is panicking.
Misinformation — Tips For Avoiding It
The best way you can avoid misinformation is to become aware of the sources the information comes from. News from friends on Facebook and other social media platforms should be taken with a grain of salt. If your friend shares a link on Facebook, check the source, is it from a major news platform, or is it from a random person on social media?
Fact-checking can even be a challenge when it comes to credible sources. Sometimes, news sources will cover the misinformation being spread, which may inadvertently spread more misinformation. One of the best sources for direct, factual, and up to date information is the CDC website covering all COVID-19 updates. The CDC is to the point and avoids information overload.
If you would like to read the news, The New York Times currently has a free newsletter covering all COVID-19 updates. Their morning email has bullet point snippets of information covering COVID-19 around the world, written by trustworthy journalists.
Coronavirus and Staying Sane
With all the news around COVID-19 being especially dangerous for seniors, it is completely normal to feel anxious during this time. The best to do is to be concerned and be cautious, but try not to panic. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Sometimes, a distraction from the media is just what you need.
Avoid reading the news too much
Staying informed is crucial, however, it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole of COVID-19 news. Try to limit your COVID-19 related news viewing to an hour a day, get caught up on news in your city, any important updates.
Find Fun Activities To Do To Keep Busy
Most major cities in the U.S. have ordered residents to stay indoors and if you are a senior, staying away from the public and large groups is vital, your health is of the utmost importance. If you live in an assisted living facility, you may be under heavy restrictions, but understand it is for your own health. Even if you are stuck inside, there are plenty of fun activities you can do.
Take An Online Course!
One of the step2health team’s favorite discoveries is free online courses. Harvard offers plenty of courses you can take for free on their website. Course range from learning about how to program with Java, to a class called “The Science of Cooking.” Taking a course will help keep your mind sharp, plus you can learn something new. When you take an online class, the amount of work you put in is up to you, who knows, you may even be at the top of your class!
Take A (Virtual) Road Trip
If you’re not interested in taking classes, consider exploring some national parks! Even if you’re quarantined, you can still get on your computer and take a virtual tour from the comfort of your own home! Yellowstone National Park offers awesome virtual tours for free! You don’t even need to get your hiking shoes on.
Call Your Loved Ones
Depending on your circumstances, you may not be able to see your loved ones. This can make quarantine difficult and lonely. If you can’t see your loved ones in person, consider getting on a video call with them. Many high school and university students had their classes moved to online, and educational institutions are using Zoom to facilitate their lectures. Even if you are no longer in school, you can still join Zoom to talk to your loved ones! Zoom allows multiple people to be on a video call at once, so you’ll be able to join a virtual family reunion with no problem.
Listen To Some Podcasts or Audiobooks
Podcasts have become increasingly popular among millennials and for a good reason. There are so many podcasts out there that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Some personal suggestions are This American Life a podcast that covers a different theme every week, with multiple stories centered around that theme, and Stuff You Should Know, a podcast covering information on, well stuff you should know, such as “Could A Robot Tax Win The War on Poverty?”
Alternatively, audiobooks are a great way to get some reading in. Audible, a subscription-based audiobook service has thousands of books online that you can start listening to within minutes.
Remaining Hopeful When Things Seem Grim
COVID-19 has undoubtedly shaken the world, and the news surrounding it can really impact an individual’s mental and emotional health. While it is necessary to remain cautious and follow CDC guidelines (wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keep at least 6ft apart from one another) it is also important to try to remain optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Business Insider covers reasons to be optimistic about the eventual end of COVID-19 and it is worth checking out. Some highlights include news about life in China and South Korea normalizing after COVID-19, the emergence of warm weather potentially being helpful for the virus, and the ongoing research of vaccines to prevent coronavirus in the future.
The current state of the U.S. is bad right now, but if everyone cooperates, it won’t be bad forever. One step at a time, we will get through this.