The world is fighting a pandemic today and everyone is impacted. Every individual has the risk of getting affected by the virus and face dreadful consequences. But, the risk and effect of this terrible disease increase with age putting the seniors at a higher risk.
As one grows older, the risk of ailment due to COVID19 increases gradually. The greatest risk of serious sickness due to this disease is among the aged group 85 and older. As we go down the age group, the risk lessens, that doesn’t mean that the people of the lower age group are not in the possibility of contracting coronavirus. For instance, the age group 60-70 is at a higher risk than the age group 50-60 and similarly. A report says that 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the United States have been among people aged 65 years or older. Elderly people are at a greater risk because of their decreased immunity and body reserves as well as multiple associated issues like hypertension, diabetics, heart problems, or any chronic diseases. Other aspects that can increase the chances of COVID 19 impact include anyone having any previous medical conditions which are not cured completely. This disease attacks the weaker immune system and further weakens it.
As a Human, it’s in one’s nature to be social and seek companionship & connection. This need increases with age. Contrary to this, the finest way of protecting oneself from COVID 19 is by minimizing public interactions. SOCIAL DISTANCING is the biggest tool in managing the coronavirus pandemic and help to flatten the curve. COVID 19 has changed the routine, care, and support that older people receive and their ability to stay connected socially. To remain safe from the virus, seniors must limit the interactivity with other people as much as possible. In the case of social interaction, a 6 feet physical distance should be maintained. With that, taking the state advised precautions seriously and contact the health care service as soon as one feels sick should be done on priority. One can also refer to the guidelines & the advice provided by the World Health Organisation to fight COVID -19 pandemic for older people and their households.
Since the spread of COVID 19, everyone including the elderly is told to self-isolate in an attempt to protect them. Social isolation has been a major health issue for a long time and has gained a lot of popularity during the COVID 19 Pandemic because of the risks that it posses to older people based on physical distancing. It has intensified the loneliness and the stress that comes along with it in older adults. Isolation brings confusion and this toxic combination generates fear and anxiety in anyone. Prior to the global pandemic too, isolation among seniors has been considered a major health concern that has received international recognition as well for being a cause of early mortality and reduced quality of life. Isolation brings a higher risk of cardiovascular, neurological, immune, and psychological complications with it in older adults. Despite the development made by different organizations in healthcare, aging services, and public health system fighting social isolation and loneliness, it still remains a major issue. With Perspective to this extremely contagious virus COVID 19, Isolation can help in reduced transmission and lesser chances of spreading the virus among high risked groups. However, social isolation among seniors has been a reason for serious physical and mental health concern. COVID 19 has highlighted the existing issues that come along with it. It is a considerable public health concern and remaining socially aloof can both be harmful as well as protective to seniors. Remaining socially alone has been associated with a lot of issues including falls, hospitalization, traumatic stress, etc. Elders whose contact lies at assisted living apartments, daycares, and community centers and do not live close to their family and friends are at a greater risk to feel more lonely, separated, and isolated than others. Some of the major psychological risks that are concerning in isolation of older adults include:
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal feelings
- Substantial abuse
Technology comes into play during these times. The social distancing policy among the aged should be intervened in order to avoid other implications from COVID-19. The newer technologies should be used to support elders at this time of need. Regular contacts on telephone & video calls can make seniors feel less lonely during the enforced isolation. Meaningful interactions with others with the feeling of connectedness are important for the physical and mental health of a human being. Some of the things that can be considered in fighting health issues are :
Physical exercises have always been helpful in clearing in mind. Seniors can get engaged in low impact exercises like a daily walk or a session of Yoga. It would help their body to release necessary endorphins and bring in a happy state of mind. It is important that we create chances to have healthy aging during the global pandemic.
Using different communicative channels, regular interaction with family and friends is a great way to stay sane in these times. Easy apps and basic knowledge of technology can help seniors in staying connected and updated.
Keep the mind busy is a way of keeping it happy. A well a planned day with routine exercises can keep the body and mind active and reduce psychological risks
One needs to remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic and therefore things are needed to be done in a controlled fashion. Let’s not let it be out of control again since with an increased level of physical interaction among seniors, they would be protected against loneliness and social isolation but the risk of COVID19 exposure will increase drastically. During these times of physical distancing, we need to alter the traditional practices and bring in changed processes to engage our elders in combating loneliness and isolation. The benefits of this process are immense. Distanced Connectivity attempts to be maintained through the computer, phone, or any other smart technology. Seniors can remain socially connected to their loved ones despite being physically away.