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Helping the Elderly During this Pandemic

The world is facing an extremely unusual time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is affected but none more so than the elderly who need to strictly follow Mississippi Governor Tate Reeve’s “Shelter Stay at Home” mandate. This has caused many problems for them as they need to get food and supplies but do not need to be out and about in the public. This is a time when we need to reach out and help our elderly more than ever.

Here are just a few ways and suggestions to support and assist our precious elders during this time.

Ways to help the elderly:

Shopping—Give your older family members or those elderly or disabled in the community a call and ask if there is anything that you can pick up for them at the grocery store. Don’t forget to ask if you can pick up their medicine for them as well. This is an excellent way for them to get the supplies they need without putting their health at danger.

Gardening or Yard Work—Offer to mow their lawns or trim their hedges and bushes. This will take the hardship off the shoulders of the elderly. If they love gardens, offer to plant roses or whatever plants are available in the stores right now. Beautiful flowers are in abundance at local and statewide stores and nurseries, and it would make for a cheerful sight to see a few splashes of color and beautiful foliage growing in their yards. Everyone loves to see something beautiful growing in their yard, and it would definitely brighten anyone’s day to see lovely flowers reaching to the sun. If they would like a garden to grow a few vegetables for summer harvest, offer to till up the ground, pull weeds, plant seeds, dig holes for plants, or whatever might be needed. This would definitely give them something to watch grow and nurture.

Reach Out to Neighbors—This doesn’t even have to just apply to the elderly. Give your neighbors, the elderly in the community, your relatives, and friends a call or text just to check on them and see how they are doing. If it’s just to say “Hey” or “I love you,” these calls and messages mean so much more than ever before.

Send a Card or Letter—Everyone loves to receive something special in the mail. Imagine the smile on the face of your neighbors or the elder community when they open up an envelope with a sweet card or letter, saying that you are thinking of them or wishing them well.

Make Face Masks—If you have simple sewing skills, you can make face masks that are quite easy to do for the elders and others in the community. Although it is best for our elders to stay home, sometimes it might be a necessity to get out, and a face mask is essential. As supplies are hard to find, a homemade face mask is perfect and a sweet reminder to our elderly that they are loved and cared for.

Assist at Nursing Homes—For health reasons, this might not be a possibility, but it would not hurt to contact your local nursing homes and facilities and ask how you could help in any way or brighten the day of their residents. Many nursing homes are not allowing visitors, but you can check with the nursing homes to see if you can brighten the views for the elderly from the outside by putting up wind chimes or birdhouses or other decorative yard art that would give a change of scenery. Without a doubt, they would love to watch the birds or squirrels scamper around the birdhouses, feeders, or small birth baths.

Offer a Ride—If the elderly have doctor appointments, offer them a ride to their visits.

If you live and care for elderly family members, there are many ways that you can help to occupy their time and take their mind off these worries of the world. Read to them. Whether it’s the Bible, a favorite classic, or the latest novel, everyone, especially the elderly, love to be read to. Let them listen to some of their favorite artists and songs. Play games, put together puzzles, or offer them coloring or puzzle books to enjoy. Watch favorite old movies or television shows or the latest to movies. This is a wonderful way to gather with your loved ones and share a laugh and enjoy being together. It is definitely a “feel good” solution to watch an old favorite classic. Help them FaceTime or call family members or friends that they do not see often. Watch church services via Facebook Live whenever possible. Spend time with them. As the world as been put to a halt, this is a special time to really get to talk and spend time with our elderly.

This can be a very scary time for everyone, and that is why we need to protect and care for our elders even more. Make sure you can be of assistance in any way that you can.

This is definitely not an all-inclusive list of ways to help the elderly during this time, and we would love to have your input. If you have suggestions or other ideas, we’d love to hear them. Let us know other ways that we can protect our precious older community.


Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.


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