A CLOSER LOOK: change, anxiety, loneliness due to COVID-19

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Photo courtesy Jeph Blanchard and KNWA

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s almost a new world type of feeling because of COVID-19. Daily routines from grocery shopping to getting children to school or the school bus have been disrupted. Large gatherings have been nixed, others who are alone and rely on social outings are more isolated. These are just a few examples.

Licensed Professional Counselor Elizabeth Scrivner, from Dallas-based Park Cities Counseling, said, “change is typically uncomfortable for everyone … and that is a general statement.”

Park Cities Counseling CEO, Elizabeth Scrivner, MA, LPC

She knew about the disease, but when New York closed its public schools, “I knew we had a serious problem,” she said.

People who have anxiety, and added with this change, it’s twice as much for them to deal with. “A lot of people feel trapped so I recommend they do something. Keep busy, and try not to slow down.”

Parents are dealing with change. They may be spending more time at home — together! Here are some “coping tips” offered by Scrivner:

  • Revise 2020 goals
  • Set a new daily schedule and include exercise
  • Devote time for fun and humor
  • Do something every day for someone else
  • Don’t forget washing your hands and social distancing

“This is very serious and we can all do our part,” said Scrivner. “You are in control of your own goals. You get to do the things that you want to change.”

AS A PARENT: DEALING WITH COVID-19 AND CHILDREN

“I never thought I could do half the job my daughter’s teacher does. I wasn’t wrong.”

Last week, this couple from Bella Vista found out they would become “teachers” — at least for a couple of weeks — for their six-year-old due to COVID-19 and school closures across the state.

Here’s Sammi Blanchard’s personal story about day 1:

We had a strategy, but it has been anything but smooth. Technical difficulties, schedule conflicts, and an only somewhat cooperative “student” meant that we aren’t halfway through the first day’s worth of online learning assignments.

Not a lot of math or literacy has taken place, but by the end of the day, my husband and I might benefit from rewatching the Cosmic Yoga video from our daughter’s P.E. class that I encouraged her through this morning. 

“I know we’re not going to fail completely”

My husband works from home, and I am a stay at home mom. We’re not facing the challenges of childcare, and worries about our jobs like so many are. It’s still stressful, though, because you want to do the best you can for your kids, and you don’t want them to feel the stresses you’re feeling during a time that’s so different than we’re all accustomed to. 

As parents, we have to try and remember this is stressful for our kids, too. They’re not seeing their friends. Their routines are turned upside down. Depending on their age, they may not fully understand what we’re expecting of them, and they may be feeling frustrations as a result. 

THE ELDERLY AND COVID-19

Patient safety is always a top priority at Circle of Life, and the non-profit hospice understands that COVID-19 is a source of concern, especially for the elderly.

“We are taking significant precautions to assess the health and well-being of our staff with daily screenings and thermometer readings. We are offering in-person visits to our patients in our inpatient facilities and those that allow visits in their home,” according to Hospice Bereavement and Spiritual Care Manager Allison Wright.

Visitors are limited as a cautionary measure and Circle of Life is offering frequent phone calls from its interdisciplinary team.

Also, social workers and chaplains offer an open space for patients and families to express concerns, thoughts or needs.

Wright said, “it is very difficult for families to be restricted from visiting their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.” The non-profit is offering to meet families off-site when needed to provide therapeutic and spiritual support.

The agency is well aware that social isolation can impact feelings of loneliness and depression.

“We are finding that patients and families greatly appreciate phone calls from our team. Technology can be a great asset for providing an opportunity to see loved ones even when they cannot be physically present. We are doing everything that we can to stay connected, address fears and concerns, and show up for each other and our community,” said Wright.

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