How to help the elderly cope with COVID-19


elderly covid-19Help elderly with the COVID-19 situation
Image credit: NTUC FairPrice (left)

As the COVID-19 situation in Singapore intensifies every day, vulnerable people like the elderly face an increasing risk of contracting the virus. And seeing how it can have potentially dire consequences for them, we need to take extra steps to make sure they’re well and protected.

If you’ve got elderly parents and grandparents at home, here are 8 ways to keep them safe and well:


1. Encourage them not to go out with friends


elderly covid-19 friendsEncourage your senior family members to avoid social gatherings for now
Rayqal by Sufyan Sam’an. Image credit: National Arts Council

With the situation being as severe as it is right now, we should try as much as possible to encourage our grandparents not to go out with friends. 

Whether it’s for a drink with friends at the kopitiam, or for a game of Chinese checkers at the void deck, any social gathering should be avoided. At this point, we don’t know how and where the virus can spread from, and we’d rather play it safe and minimise their risk of getting sick for their sake.


2. Do not go near elderly if you are unwell, on quarantine or stay home order


isolateIsolate yourself if you aren’t feeling well 

It’s hard to avoid contact with your family at home, but do also take extra precautions when you’re at home. 

If you’re unwell, on quarantine, or on a stay-home order, do the right thing and practice social distancing at home. By doing so, you’ll be helping your elderly family members minimise the risk, and when it’s all finally over, feel free to be as close as you want with them.


3. Tell them about priority shopping hours at NTUC


ntuc priority hoursWhile chionging for groceries has become the new norm, many tend to forget that some of us can’t physically compete with the crowd.
Image credit: NTUC FairPrice

To avoid the perpetual mad rush, be sure to tell your senior family members about the priority shopping hours at NTUC. Taking place at 7-8AM at all their 24-hour stores, this hour will be reserved solely for the elderly, pregnant women, as well as people with disabilities such that they’ll be able to get what they want in relative peace.

Alternatively, you can do the grocery shopping in their stead and brave the crowds for them.


4. Teach them how to order groceries online instead of the wet market


Instead of navigating the horde of people rushing for groceries, opt to buy them online instead. And since most of us would be locked away at home, you’ll have all the time in the world to teach your elderly parents how to do so using computers and smartphone apps.

They may scoff at this in favour of the ever-traditional wet market supplies, but as much as possible, do remind them that this is for their health and safety.


5. Play games with them at home to keep them entertained


help elderly covid-19

We get it – staying at home all day ‘err day sucks. But on the bright side, you can finally take out your board or card games that have been collecting dust the entire time it’s been there.

And while you do that, be sure to include your parents or grandparents as well. Of course, this means no rabak games like Cards Against Humanity or Limpeh Says – just stick to the wholesome classics like Monopoly or UNO, and you’ll be entertained for hours on end.


6. Work out with them at home


It’s easy to forget to exercise when you’re stuck at home 24/7. After all, you’re already comfy in your bed or favourite chair – why bother leaving it at all, right?

But don’t take that as an excuse. Workouts can still be done at home, and with these easy workouts, you can easily sweat it out with your entire family.   


7. Educate them on video-calling software to stay in touch


video calling

Being the social creatures that we are, putting off any meetings with friends and family for the time being is probably one of the more difficult things we can do. But with the number of COVID-19 cases rising exponentially, we need to stay away from public areas as much as possible.

Enter video-calling software. Apps like Google Hangouts, Facetime, and Zoom are all readily-available, and when online hangouts become the norm for now, we can slowly ease our senior family members to get used to this new change.


8. Make traditional delicacies and desserts


traditional desserts

Staying at home doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. If anything, this is the best time to whip up a storm with what you have, which includes traditional desserts and other delicacies. And who knows – have your grandparents join in on the fun, and you might just pick up an age-old recipe to pass down to your kids in the future.


Helping the elderly stay safe amidst the COVID-19 situation


The number of unlinked cases are picking up everyday, and when we realise anyone can be affected, we need to pull out all the stops to ensure that the people we love remain safe and healthy.

During this time, our elderly folks are extra susceptible to getting infected. Encouraging social distancing to them thus becomes extra crucial, and while they are at home, we can think up new ways for them to keep their minds stimulated.

This is, for sure, a tough chapter in our books. But like any good story, there is an ending – and with the right steps and mindset, we will find our way through it together.