The COVID-19 pandemic brought confinement, physical distance, fear of infection, economic crisis and uncertainty regarding the future. Plans were postponed, habits readjusted and life was never the same. The increase in stress and anxiety has impaired our mental health.
Long-term social isolation and the neglect of basic care to maintain a minimum amount of mental health can be harmful to anyone's health and have an even greater effect on seniors. Considered as part of the risk group, some seniors face this pandemic with fear.
Over the years, a person’s mental health can suffer several changes that are influenced by events, relationships, experiences, biological factors, among other things. It is therefore important to stay alert, take care of your body and mind, not to be afraid to ask for help from qualified professionals if you need it and not to be ashamed to approach the subject.
It is estimated that one in five people in Portugal has a mental illness.
It is important to remember that social isolation is not and should not mean emotional isolation. Elderly people alone at home or in nursing homes, away from the family, can have human contact through phone calls or video calls. They need to feel welcomed, loved and cared for.
Self-care is a weapon for not to get sick, both physically and mentally. From hygiene to a healthy diet, form exercise to sleep, it is essential that these routines are ensured, to maintain defences and capabilities.
Activities that are too passive, like watching television all the time, are not very beneficial.
Watching too much news can generate more anxiety and anguish, so get informed only about what is necessary and in reliable channels.
It is essential to invest in activities that encourage reasoning. Hobbies such as crossword puzzles, sudoku and puzzles can be good alternatives.
Also noteworthy are activities such as reading, listening to music and physical exercise, which trigger a feeling of well-being, tranquillity and comfort; have a healthy lifestyle, regarding food and sleep; enjoy a network of positive relationships, either with family or friends.