How to Help Seniors During the Coronavirus Pandemic

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

Gear Up for a Safer Fall & Winter

The CDC released updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccines. Find out what you need to know in our latest coverage.

In May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared and end to the international COVID-19 public health emergency.  Although the accute crisis is deemed "over," it's still important to stay up-to-date on the latest vaccination, social distancing, hand washing, and masking guidelines—especially to protect those who are most vulnerable. 

Unvaccinated seniors are among the most at risk for showing symptoms and dying of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus. The CDC recommends getting fully vaccinated and staying current on new boosters as variants evolve.

As the world continues to work to slow the spread of this disease and its variants, your older friends, neighbors, and relatives are at risk for isolation and illness. Here are a few ways to help from a safe distance.

1. Stay in touch

During a time of social distancing, seniors and folks aging in the home may feel more isolated and lonely without their regular visitors and activities. With church services and community events put on hold, they’re likely not  socializing much.

That’s why now, more than ever, it’s important to stay in touch with our senior friends and family.

Talk often

Whether it’s through phone calls, text, video chats, or social media, keep in touch with seniors in your community. Call your grandparents, parents, and neighbors regularly to chat and keep them company.

Use old school communication

Send letters, notes, drawings, and gifts to the seniors in your life to brighten up their day. Keepsakes like handwritten letters and old pictures will boost their spirits. And don’t hesitate to enlist your kids and friends to join you. Just make sure to wash your hands before writing your letters and sending them off.

Share happy memories

With the world on hold, it can be easy to dwell on the negative. While talking to your senior family member, neighbor, or friend, ask them to tell stories about their career or family. Share recipes and jokes to keep the mood lighthearted. We may be stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy each other’s company.

For loved ones in nursing homes

Older adults in nursing homes are also at risk of isolation and illness. If you know someone in an assisted living home, visit them when you can.

If it’s safe to visit, help clean up their space and bring supplies, gifts, or flowers to brighten up their area. Ask facility staff about their precautions and procedures to avoid the spread of the outbreak.

Wash your hands before arriving and leaving the facility, and avoid going if you’re sick.

2. Drop off supplies

For people aging at home, it can be hard to get the supplies they need to stay healthy and engaged. Leaving your senior friends and family care packages is a great way to brighten their day and get them the items they need. Just be sure to keep a safe distance to avoid getting sick or infecting them.

Food and medicine

For most, grocery and delivery services work well, but rural areas may not have the same options. Shopping for supplies and delivering food can be a huge help to those who need it.

Anything from bringing takeout meals to medicine can be helpful for seniors stuck at home. Be sure any food you bring is healthy and wash your hands before handling anything.

Light Bulb
Volunteer opportunities

If you want to volunteer, organizations like Meals On Wheels are taking helpers. Your local food bank will also be taking donations during the pandemic.

Puzzles, games and entertainment

Phones, tablets, and laptops can only go so far. Drop off puzzles, coloring books, magazines, or craft supplies to seniors in your area. Anything that helps time go by faster and makes the isolation a little easier could do a lot for their mental and physical health.

Pet supplies

Seniors with pets may not be able to leave to pick up supplies. Help out older adults and their furry friends by including goods like pet food, kitty litter, and pet toys in any care packages you bring.

3. Encourage healthy activities

Without errands to run or events to attend, social distancing makes staying active harder than normal for everyone. Thankfully, there are ways seniors can stay healthy and active during a pandemic.

Online workout videos

Walking in the park, going to the gym, and other physical activities may be restricted, but older adults can still find ways to get the blood pumping. There are plenty of free workouts for seniors on YouTube, many of which can be done sitting in a chair. So drop a link in their inbox.

Just be careful of strenuous exercise if you or your senior friends have respiratory problems or showing COVID-19 symptoms. It’s best to consult a doctor before starting any kind of exercise regimen.

Virtual doctors visits

Virtual doctor visits are a great option for seniors stuck at home. There’s no need to leave the house for regular checkups and consultations (now covered by Medicare). For conditions like diabetes, this allows seniors to see their doctors without risking coming in contact with coronavirus. Plus, no stuffy waiting room!

Senior safety devices like medication dispensers, medical alert systems, and safety equipment are also helpful for any older adult living alone or away from family.

Medical alert systems

Best medical alert system
bay alarm medical device and push button
Bay Alarm Medical
Starts at
pro 30-day risk-free trial
pro Easy installation
pro Equipment for home, vehicle, and on the go

For parents or grandparents who live out of state, a medical alert system can be a huge help. These alerts are available as wearable buttons or home stations like a landline.

For a monthly fee, these devices connect to emergency assistance at the push of a button. So whether there’s been a fall or they start showing symptoms of COVID-19, older adults can get help as soon as possible.

Fall detection

While COVID-19 is a serious concern for seniors and their families, threats like falls should still be on your radar. If you or your loved one live alone or away from family, consider a medical alert with fall detection. These systems act like normal medical alert systems, but automatically detect falls that can cause serious injuries and even death in older adults.

4. Establish backup contacts

Demands at home like children, pets, and work, may keep us from visiting our senior friends and family as much as we’d like. Make it easier on yourself and your family by enlisting others to help out with seniors in your community. Get contact information for other family, friends, or neighbors who can help visit seniors and bring them supplies.

How coronavirus affects seniors FAQ

Older adults, especially those with respiratory issues and diabetes are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than other groups. Symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, and coughing are likely to show up faster for those with existing health issues.

Because mortality rates are so much higher for adults over 80, the best way to help out is by encouraging self-isolation and checking on them from a distance.

Stay in contact with them, know who’s visiting them or if they’re alone, and stay in touch. Technology like medical alert systems or indoor cameras keep an eye on your loved ones and get them help when they need it.


Services will vary based on where you (and your senior friends) live. We’ve found opportunities through Meals on Wheels to deliver food to seniors.

Check with your local food bank or pantry for chances volunteer or donate to relief organizations that help people affected by the pandemic.


If you or someone you care for fall ill with COVID-19, you’ll need to take some precautions.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you and the person you’re caring for should isolate in another room and wear a protective mask to avoid spreading the virus through coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands frequently before and after caring for them and avoid touching your face or hard surfaces. 

Currently healthcare providers are stretched, so be sure to call ahead before taking anyone to the hospital. That said, it is important that you consult a medical professional about proper care and procedures if you or a loved one are sick.

Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.

Most importantly, stay home and get in touch with your doctor or a pharmacy to obtain a COVID-19 test. You may want to get vaccinated if you haven't already.

It’s important to keep a safe distance from other people in your home. Wear a facemask to avoid spreading germs, avoid touching your face, and practice good hygiene like washing your hands.

Katie McEntire
Written by
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at and Top Ten Reviews.

Recent Articles

woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
The Best Home Security Systems of 2024
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2024
SimpliSafe is the best DIY home security system because it's cost-efficient, effective, and easy to...
happy older women sitting together
Best Medical Alert Necklaces
If you find yourself in an emergency, a medical alert necklace can contact trained professionals...