Joe, 78-year old former “Mr. Fix It,” has been feeling useless, guilty, and depressed since Hurricane Sandy crashed into his home. “All he wants to do is go down to his basement to fix something,” explains Nancy Girlando, the home care nurse who helps care for Joe. “His wife and kids are doing everything for him with the best of intentions. But that’s how a lot of seniors get depressed and feel useless.” Experts recommend keeping seniors involved with social goings-on, rather than excluding them.
Seniors living at home with the help of a home care provider have a distinct advantage over those in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. With the additional assistance of a homecare system or homecare software, helping seniors stay involved with disaster relief efforts is easier than ever.
How Seniors Can Help
While the majority of seniors may not be able to physically travel to areas affected by natural disasters, there is still much they can do to help. Caregivers can set tasks in their homecare system or homecare software so that each day brings a new way to provide assistance.
• Make a donation. Seniors can make charitable contributions or donate supplies over the phone or internet. Be sure to verify where the donation is going to before you give out any financial information.
• Give blood. For seniors in good health, they may wish to make a contribution to their local blood bank. Visit The American Red Cross to learn more about donating blood.
• Write letters. There is power in the written word – especially for those who have lost loved ones or homes as a result of a natural disaster. Caregivers can use ClearCare’s homecare software and homecare system to store names and addresses of those whom the senior wishes to contact.
• Organize relief efforts. With a little help, seniors can often help organize disaster relief efforts through local churches or community centers.
When disaster strikes, it is important for family members and friends to keep seniors involved in relief efforts – to an appropriate degree. There is no sense in needlessly worrying an elderly person who may already suffer from depression or anxiety, but completely ignoring the situation at hand is not recommended either. Caregivers who rely on a homecare system or homecare software, such as ClearCare, can easily track each patient’s mood and behaviors on a daily basis. This can give care professionals and family members an idea of how circumstances are affecting the senior’s emotional state.
For more tips on handling disaster situations and how ClearCare’s homecare system and homecare software can help, check out our post on Checking In With Seniors During Natural Disasters.