Wisdom from our elders
Husband depressed and anxious since COVID-19 stopped activities
Dear GrandPad: My husband and I are both in our 80s. Before COVID he was quite active socially, mainly doing some union work and volunteering. Of course, COVID put a stop to all of this. We’re now vaccinated so the general outlook is improving, but he’s too depressed to even check with friends to see if any of his old activities have started up again. I'm occupied on a computer a lot because I do a volunteer project that keeps up my skills, but my husband worked construction and never needed a computer. Even though I’ve offered to teach him, he’s been uninterested. These days, he not only seems depressed but anxious, if that makes sense. I don't know how to help him. Can you suggest anything? – DL
Dear DL: You’re wise to pay attention to these changes in your husband. Dealing with COVID-19 has left many people with both depression and anxiety so we’d suggest that you encourage him to make an appointment with his doctor. You can reassure him by telling him that doctors are hearing about these symptoms from many of their patients.
For at-home ideas, now that the weather's nice maybe you can interest him in a building project such as a birdfeeder that could bring both of you pleasure. A small vegetable garden is another idea.
How about puzzles? You could search together online and order one with a scene that your husband finds soothing or nostalgic. Start the puzzle together but leave it set up for him to work on alone whenever he feels like it.
We also think that he’d benefit from a GrandPad. Since he’s computer averse, you may want to be proactive and order one on your own. Setup is a breeze. You could add family members and friends to his call list so that by touching a button he can connect with them through video. These video calls could go a long way toward keeping his relationships alive until they can return to in-person meetings. Your husband’s GrandPad would also give him easy access to games that he could play alone or with others as well as music that he may enjoy. Once you show him the ready-to-go tablet, we think he’ll be hooked.
Grandpad’s new “Moods” app could be an absolute gift. By touching an icon, he could be instantly transported into a relaxing atmosphere of a soft rainfall, the serenity of an aquarium or roaring fire, a stream in the woods, or seasonal scenes. The soothing images and sounds used for the “Moods” app can trigger memories for many people adding to the simple but immersive experience. “Moods” is meant to help anyone let go of stress and anxiety so you could choose one together and enjoy the serenity as a couple.
We’re hoping that your husband can soon be back volunteering with his friends. By then, he may be excited to share his GrandPad experience because he’ll continue to find the tablet an enhancement to his retired life.