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A page by the Federal Ministry of Health

Bundesministerium für Gesundheit
10:47 · 8. April 2021

Mind Your Health – Older people

Many older people have been facing extraordinary challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. They are at greatest risk from the virus. Many are currently feeling lonely and isolated – children and grandchildren can no longer visit as they used to. Even normal occasions like inviting a neighbour round to play cards have had to fall by the wayside. Everyday shopping trips and doctor’s visits may now come with feelings of uncertainty. In addition, the daily reports on television and the radio may exacerbate feelings of fear.

Tackle loneliness

Not being able to see or visit with friends and relatives right now is really difficult. One option is for people to use letters and phone calls to keep in contact. This might be just the right moment to discover new interests, like learning how to use a laptop or computer. It’s often a lot easier than you might think. It can also help you keep in digital contact with family and friends. 

Keep moving

Getting enough exercise is especially important these days. It can help you stay healthy and can even help you relieve stress. Doing regular exercise with the windows open, on a balcony or in the garden can do your body and immune system a world of good.

Exercise fosters independence and health, emotional well-being and mental activity. It helps with combating the stress and tension that may crop up as a result of restrictions or changes to your routine. Once you get over the initial mental hurdles, it becomes increasingly easier to exercise every day. Look for a couple of exercise routines that are fun for you. Start with small chunks of exercise, and then gradually increase your workout as your strength and stamina improve.

Here are a few ideas:

  • https://www.aelter-werden-in-balance.de/ (German only)
  • A special pack of exercise cards is available with 25 exercises you can easily incorporate into everyday life that do not require any extra equipment (https://www.aelter-werden-in-balance.de/bewegungspackung/, German only). Tips for exercises to build strength and balance are available here: https://service.bzga.de/pdf.php?id=1bc1083bbe64394f92d6658441a68985 (German only).
  • You might also give some relaxation techniques a try to help you manage stress and tension during the coronavirus pandemic. Finishing up your workout routine with brief, beneficial exercises like guided meditations or targeted breathing can be very relaxing. Find out more here: https://www.aelter-werden-in-balance.de/online-bewegungsangebote/uebungsvideos/entspannungsuebungen (German only).

Find respite if you’re caring for family members

Family members also serving as carers are facing a great deal of strain just now. That’s why it’s so important that they both tend to the needs of the person they’re caring for while taking their own needs seriously. Wherever possible, try not to shoulder caring responsibilities alone, instead dividing tasks between multiple people. Have a think about who from the family or your social circle could help. Even just taking on minor tasks like going on a walk during the day can provide you with some effective relief. Be sure to look into local municipal services as well as charities and volunteer agencies to find local volunteer-based support initiatives. Find out about outpatient care services and what specific services are available.

We’ve compiled a list of useful links with information and support here:

  • The Family Affairs Ministry’s care helpline (+49 (0)30 20179131) is open nationwide, Monday to Thursday between 9:00 and 18:00. 
  • Advice for home-based care is available here: https://www.zqp.de/beratung-pflege (page available in German only) or www.pflegeberatung.de (compass private care advice service; German only).
  • Reliable information on risk of infection and protective measures is available here: https://www.infektionsschutz.de (German only).