Pandemic Fatigue in Older Adults

It’s been over 6 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The restrictions which have been put in place to emphasize safety can begin to wear on us all, and while there’s a natural desire to want to “get back to normal,” there is a new worry: pandemic fatigue in older adults.

Pandemic fatigue is a result of trying to manage the myriad of intense emotions we’ve been experiencing, such as anxiousness, fear, loneliness, and hopelessness. It is fatiguing and draining, and may present as:

  • Problems with getting enough sleep and/or eating appropriately
  • Difficulty with focusing
  • Withdrawing from people we love
  • Becoming more argumentative or having a “short fuse”
  • Feelings of nervousness, uneasiness, and not enough motivation
  • Struggling with racing thoughts

The balance between maintaining the physical safety and health we achieve by self-isolating, in addition to the emotional health we achieve through socialization and engaging in meaningful activities, is not simple to navigate. We have provided some suggestions to help both yourself and the seniors you love:

  • Acknowledge and accept your feelings. A wide range of feelings is perfectly normal in a period that feels anything but normal. It can be helpful to name how you’re feeling – even writing it down. Then see if you can refocus your thinking on ways to help. For example, if you are feeling out of control, direct your energy to things that you are able to control.
  • Change your inner dialogue. It is normal to wrestle with a number of negative “what if” scenarios, which produce heightened anxiety. Try incorporating a positive slant to your thoughts; for example, instead of thinking, “What if I come down with COVID-19?” tell yourself, “I’ve been doing everything I can to protect myself and stay safe.”
  • Stay connected. While social distancing and staying away from each other has become the new normal, it is important to maintain social connections in ways that are safe: telephone calls, emailing and chatting on social media, writing letters, and utilizing technology for virtual get-togethers, classes, religious services, etc.
  • Turn off the news. It is important to make certain you’re up to date regarding the latest recommendations, guidelines, and status of the virus, but it’s also very easy to quickly become inundated with too much information. Make an effort to limit your news watching to a maximum of one hour daily, while making sure the source you are getting information from is trustworthy.
  • Take care of yourself. Develop a routine that includes no less than seven hours of sleep per night, half an hour of exercise each day, and a balanced and healthy diet. You’ll be aiding both your emotional state as well as your immune system by simply making good lifestyle choices.

Inspired Home Care is always here to partner with you in providing trusted, dependable senior care in Barrington and the surrounding communities. Our home care services are delivered in the safety and comfort of home, helping seniors optimize emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. Whether the need is for just a couple of hours every week of respite care to permit family caregivers to rest and recharge, or as much time as needed, up through and including full-time care, contact us at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our senior care in Barrington and the surrounding areas.