Feeling Depressed, Anxious, Not in Control? You Are Not Alone

Illustration of people wearing medical masks

Adult Day Services’ colleagues across the country have not only experienced an immediate shutdown in services but now wonder if their centers will ever open again — and if so, what the implications are for a significant change in their business model.

The WellSky Adult Day Team has been reaching out to customers to lend support and provide reminders as to which software fields can be used to track telehealth services, meal delivery and more. As a Strategic Partner of the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), we’re also contributing to deep-dive webinars. The topics have included innovative services provided by “Centers without Walls,” ways to open revenue streams, how to prep for re-opening, etc. These are all common concerns — you are not alone!

We’d like to share some of the tips experts are recommending to get through this uncertain time.

Reach out and share what you’re going through. Unexpressed grief can lead to depression, and some of the things we’re experiencing are unbearably sad. If our work exposes us to painful situations and a feeling of helplessness, or we’ve lost people we loved, or our business is in peril, or we miss our children and grandchildren, or we just feel an overall sense of loss, it’s important to tell someone.

Reconnect with friends and family. Many people are catching up with relatives they haven’t talked to for years, friends from high school, and former co-workers. And in a sign of our times, some people who left Facebook are showing up again.

Do something for your participants and caregivers. Many colleagues have continued to stay in contact with and assist their participants and caregivers. They have used community resources to get medications, meals and other essential items purchased and delivered. We are learning from each other many ways to turn the impossible into possible.

Stick to your routine. Disruption of our schedule can really throw us off. As much as you can, maintain your normal schedule. If you’re working remotely, start and end your work day at the normal times. Go to bed and get up when you usually do. And go ahead and take that shower, even if you are going to be spending the day with only yourself for company.

Learn something new, do something new. If you aren’t very busy during the day, or you’re working all day and having trouble winding down in the evening, consider this period of enforced idleness as a gift of time. Take an online class, check out e-books from your local library, start the hobby of bird watching.

Keep moving. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase hormones in the brain that lower feelings of depression. If you have a home exercise routine, keep it up — even add some extra minutes each week. While observing the recommended social distancing, go out for a walk. If you are a gym member, see if the facility offers virtual classes. Check out exercise videos on YouTube, or senior-focused offerings on the National Institute on Aging website. (Older adults should check with their doctor before making any big changes in their exercise routine.)

Keep your sense of perspective. Right now it’s easy to feel like we are living at the end of the world! But history shows that our species has dealt with pandemics and all sorts of crises before and we’ve survived. We are actually better equipped this time around to battle this new challenge. Reach out to friends to talk about this unique point in human history. Keep notes! Write a memoir. This also could be a good time to think about your business plan, and to learn about systems that could help going forward.

Try to laugh. Humor is a way we humans cope with stress. Check out recent videos on YouTube, watch the nighttime talk shows, see how comedians are connecting remotely with themselves and audiences. Maybe your Facebook friends are sharing a lot of wryly hilarious memes and photos of their current hairdos (or hair don’ts, as is par for the course today).

If feelings of depression persist or worsen, seek help. Therapists and other health care professionals are conducting remote counseling sessions through telehealth and teletherapy.

Apart but not alone

Remember that you are not alone! Millions of us are experiencing and worrying about the same things, asking the same questions and dealing with the same uncertainty. Across the country and around the world, though we are isolated from each other, we have somehow never been so close.

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