TEMPE, AZ — While people and businesses are returning to a new normal, the number of coronavirus cases continue to climb in our state.
That means our most vulnerable populations, like our seniors, are advised to keep staying home.
The Rebound Arizona talked to an expert in care for older adults to discuss the impact these months of isolation is having on their mental health.
"They're watching TV a lot," said John Skelton. "They're watching the news a lot, so they're familiar with what's going on in the world."
Skelton is the owner of Tempe's Senior Helpers.
"All these things are flashing in front of them, yet they know that they can't leave the home," Skelton said. "They know that if they were to contract COVID-19 a lot of times they don't get over it... they understand that they need to do it. They understand the risk. But at the same time, it does take a toll on them, you know?"
Senior Helpers provides in-home care, like companionship, helping with personal hygiene, and running errands.
"Our caregivers' role has shifted a little bit to being their lifeline to the outside world," Skelton explained.
His team has worked to get seniors groceries or help with the technology the client needs to stay connected.
"The caregiver might be the one that sets up the Facetime or sets up the Zoom call with family and friends," Skelton said.
He said, to fight those feelings of isolation, checking in with older loved ones is crucial.
"It doesn't need to be a Facetime," Skelton said. "It doesn't need to be an extra long conversation... It can be just a quick phone call to say, 'Hey. How you doing? Is everything okay?... What'd you eat for breakfast this morning?' Just little check-in's like that."
He also suggests loved ones encourage older family members get outside.
"The fresh air, the sun on your face... do a quick walk in the morning when it's not too hot and there's not a lot of other people and activity going on," Skelton said. "And that goes a long way."
To everyone, this is a reminder of who you are taking precautions for. It is the people who may not be able to recover if they contracted COVID-19. They are staying home to stay alive.
They need our support more than ever.