How older people can look after their mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused anxiety and uncertainty amongst many. Particularly those of an older age, or those with underlying health conditions. It is important to look after your mental health as much as possible, though many find this challenging.

Below are some tips for easing anxious thoughts and looking after your mental wellbeing:

1. Taking steps to combat overly negative thoughts

This can come in many forms depending on your belief system and what you find will ease your anxious thoughts. Many find comfort in prayer and meditation; others may find writing a few positive thoughts each day in a journal can help.

One great way to help is lessening the time spent tuning in to the news. It is best to designate only one or two points in the day at which you will check the news for short period of time to stay updated.

It is important to speak to friends, family and/or mental health charities if you are feeling worried or anxious. Not speaking to anybody about your concerns often makes them much harder to deal with.

2. Taking positive action to maintain physical wellbeing

 There is an undeniable relationship between our mental and physical health. Try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Vitamins and nutrients are particularly key to maintaining a strong immune system. Ensure you do not ignore signs that you may not be consuming enough food, for example, accelerated or sudden weight loss.

Also, anxious thoughts will be made worse by a lack of sleep, if possible try to sleep for the recommended eight hours per night to maintain your physical and mental health.

Furthermore, it is advised that you try to lower your alcohol consumption. Alcohol can act as a depressant, intensifying anxious thoughts following moderate to heavy drinking.

Anybody with a health condition should continue to take medication as prescribed unless advised otherwise by a medical professional. Speaking to your GP about positive action you can take to manage your own health condition can also help to ease worries.

3. Keeping busy and keeping in touch

Even in periods of self-isolation, there are many ways to keep busy. Stimulating our minds and senses help to ease anxious thoughts.

Spending time doing things that are of interest, for example reading, painting, gardening and knitting, help to focus our minds on something more positive.

Loneliness can also have a detrimental effect on our mental health. If you prefer not to physically see friends and family at this time, technology can be a great way to stay in contact. Asking for help in setting up phone and video calls to your loved ones can help prevent social isolation, this will improve mental well-being.

Listen to government advice and take the relevant precautions but do not make unnecessary assumptions, as this will cause more fear and anxiety.

Age UK run an advice hotline, open 8am-7pm all year round specifically for older people. To speak to them about anything that concerns you call: 0800 678 1602.


For further information and guidance, do contact your local Gracewell care home. For a list of our local homes, click here.