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January 30, 2021


How to Lessen the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 on our Isolated and Elderly Population


By Rachel Livingston, BSN, RN, William Newton Home Health Director


With the roll out of COVID-19 vaccination on the horizon, there comes hope; hope that in the near future our kids will return to school and sports like ‘normal’, hope that our healthcare heroes will catch a much needed break, hope that local business will rebound, and hope that the isolation will end. However, there is no vaccine for the loneliness, fear, and anxiety which currently inhabits our community, especially the elderly population.Rachel Livingston

Unfortunately, the elderly population will remain at high risk for contracting COVID-19 even after our community receives the vaccination.

If you are reading this and feel the effects of isolation related to COVID-19, here are some ideas to manage the stress, anxiety, and loneliness that comes with isolation:

  • Establish a routine: Stick with a set time to wake up and go to bed, meal times, getting outside to exercise, social connections via phone, or computer, etc.
  • Keep your brain busy: Have plenty of board or word games, crossword puzzles, try new recipes in the kitchen, gardening, playing music, put a puzzle together, etc.
  • Exercise: The outdoors is not shut down! Get out and go for a walk, do home exercises using canned goods as weights, or try something new like yoga. This is a great time to get out of your comfort zone!
  • Use technology: Learn how to use Zoom to keep in touch with friends and family, use your computer to research something you’ve always wanted to know more about, or download E-books.

If you are fortunate enough to not be in a high risk category and don’t have to be in isolation, please help support older adults or those in isolation in our community:

  • Regularly check in on your older friends, family, and neighbors. You can still wave through the window/door and ask if they need anything without contact.
  • Call or video chat
  • Encourage them to continue activities that bring them joy such as: daily exercise, listening to or playing music, puzzles, watch TV shows they like, playing games, etc.
  • Offer to bring them a meal or run an errand for them
  • Remember they still have much to offer to the community; seek their advice based on their experiences, ask their opinions on things, have them tell you stories about their past.

What’s another easy way you could make a major impact in the lives of the elderly in our community? Send a card to a resident in a local nursing facility! Do you have a child who colors more pictures than you have fridge space? Send an original piece of artwork to a local resident. Just think of the impact we could make if each family in the community sent even one card. Below is a list of local nursing and retirement facilities within our community with residents who would greatly enjoy this kindness. The staff at each facility will deliver the mail to the residents who they know could use a pick-me-up.

Alderbrook Village
Attn: Katy
402 Windsor Road
Arkansas City, KS 67005

Cumbernauld Village
Attn: Amanda Lazelle
716 N. Tweed
Winfield, KS 67156

Attn: Nichole Ramirez
203 E. Osage Ave
Arkansas City, KS 67005

Presbyterian Manor
Attn: Activity Director
1711 N. 4th St
Arkansas City, KS 67005

Winfield Rest Haven
Attn: Activity Director
1611 Ritchie St
Winfield, KS 67156

Winfield Senior Living
Attn: Sarah
1320 Wheat Road
Winfield, KS 67156

Kansas Veterans Home
Attn: Activity Director
1220 WWII Memorial Dr
Winfield, KS 67156


Editor's Note: This article was submitted by William Newton Hospital for the Cowley CourierTraveler Health & Wellness Guide published January 2021.