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.
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.
- Silbernetz (Silver Network) (German only) runs a daily chat line service daily from 8:00 to 22:00 at 0800 4 70 80 90.
- The Digitaler Engel (Digital Angel) programme (German only) helps older people learn how to use digital media.
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).
- This page also has exercise ideas for people with dementia: https://www.zusammengegencorona.de/teamgeist (German only).
- Tips and exercises for people with limited mobility are available here: https://service.bzga.de/pdf.php?id=c72b5ac2b73057f49e9dabc78ab8b056 (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:
- Advice and up-to-date tips at https://www.wege-zur-pflege.de/start.html (German only), run by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
- The Family Affairs Ministry’s care helpline (+49 (0)30 20179131) is open nationwide, Monday to Thursday between 9:00 and 18:00.
- https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/pflege-zu-hause.html (German only) provides information on financial assistance and the services available through long-term care insurance for at-home care.
- The German Society for Psychology (DGP) offers counselling and advice for carers at https://psychologische-coronahilfe.de/beitrag/pflegende-angehoerige-und-pflegebeduerftigkeit-in-der-coronakrise (German only).
- Online mental health counselling and advice is available for carers here: https://www.pflegen-und-leben.de/online-beratung-pflegen-und-lebende.html (German only).
- Reliable information on risk of infection and protective measures is available here: https://www.infektionsschutz.de (German only).