During the COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors are concerned with their physical health, but what about their mental health?
Dr. Adnan Arif, a psychiatrist with the Institute for Personal Development, a member of DuPage Medical Group, and Bev Patterson Frier join the group on Seniors Today to discuss how older adults can keep themselves mentally healthy during this time.
Anxiety and Depression
Dr. Arif says that the pandemic leads to a lot of challenges with mental health because of the isolation.
“Anxiety is the fear of the unknown, that’s what I tell my patients,” says Arif. “And it’s the fear of the worst case scenario.”
Isolation can increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
“Isolation is depression or anxiety’s best friend,” adds Arif. He recommends that seniors make the effort to use technology in order to stay connected.
What Can Seniors Do?
Dr. Arif recommends trying alternative coping skills, like resonate breathing, which is six seconds of breathing.
Senior Bev Patterson Frier shared her own ways of coping, including bird feeders, a daily word jumble, and doing something for other people.
“If you have a friend that maybe needs some support, or a call,” says Frier, “try to cheer up somebody else and it will make you feel better.”
Resources Available to Help Older Adults Who are Struggling
Illinois Call4Calm Text Line
If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. This service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People seeking assistance will remain anonymous and will provide only their first name and zip code, which enables the service to link you to a counselor in your area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.
Crisis Text Line
The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, 24-hours a day. Text HOME to: 741741. Trained crisis counselors will respond and help you.
Institute for Personal Health – (815) 942-6323
Linden Oak Behavioral Health – (630) 305-5027
DuPage County Senior Citizens Services – (800) 942-9412
Senior Services Center of Will County – (815) 723-9713
Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging – (800) 528-2000
NAMI DuPage – (630) 752-0066
Seniors Today is a show focused on what seniors and their families need to know to live their best lives.
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