As the UN International Day of Older Persons, on October 1st, highlights the increased risks faced by older people in a pandemic, the UK is heading into a potentially incredibly tough winter for this generation.
We share simple, practical advice from psychotherapist Julia Rivas, on ways to help keep your spirits up through the current crisis, along with quotes from older people on what's helping them cope.
Structure your day
"A routine can help you feel more in control, more energised and helps avoid the sense of the hours just slipping away. It’s a good start to get up and dressed at the same time each day. Doing something enjoyable like reading, creative writing or taking a stroll can also give more meaning to your day."
Frank, 92, says:
“I spend my time playing the piano and chatting to the other tea party guests in my group over the phone. I’ll be glad when the lockdown’s over but, until then, I’ll just make the most of every day.”
"When everything feels hopeless, it can help to consciously focus on positive things. Think about all your achievements – work, family, the times when you’ve helped others... and write them down. Then write down the achievements of the people around you. The more empowered you feel, the more hopeful you’ll be."
Arthur, 89, says:
“No matter what we go through, nothing lasts forever. Even when it’s bad, there’ll always be some good at the end. That’s what I hold out for.”
"Do you remember that beautiful crockery you put away for a special occasion? What about those fluffy towels? Take them out and make the most of them. Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time when life is tough, and that’s the last thing we need. Treat yourself every day. You deserve it."
Jean, 82, says:
“I started crocheting a blanket with balls of wool I’ve found around the house and I'm enjoying that. And I still love my Mills & Boon!”
"Taking a moment to be grateful can really change our perspective and give us comfort. Here’s an exercise to try. Last thing at night, turn your thoughts to one or two things you’re thankful for. It could be a person in your life, or even the comfy bed you’re lying in. Try to make it as heartfelt as you can."
Bill, 89, says:
“I do think it’s remarkable that I’ve reached the age I am. I’m grateful for every day and just hope I have a few more.”
"If we’ve learnt anything from these past months, it’s that human bonds really count. Why not pick up the phone to that friend who’s going through a rough time; or write to that distant relative; or sign up for a Re-engage call companion… It can take courage to reach out but you never know, you could make someone’s day – as well as your own."
Pat, 82, says:
“Having a call companion made all the difference for me… Just hearing someone ask me, ‘How are you doing today, Pat?’” It does my heart so much good and so does having a really nice natter.”
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