How Does COVID-19 Influence the Lives of Seniors?
The world has witnessed a pandemic disease. That has influenced the whole nation, and this disease has affected various demographic groups differently. The sick and elderly are the most vulnerable groups to this disease. The pandemic has changed the elderly’s routines and the care and support they are receiving. They have to spend most of their time at home. And the pandemic has also influenced their physical contact with their family members, friends, and colleagues. Furthermore, the fear of illness and death of their own and their family members inflicts mental pressures on them.
Hence, governments and officials need to create opportunities to help vulnerable groups experience healthy aging during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will focus on how the novel COVID-19 pandemic affects seniors’ lives.
As stated by various healthcare officials, COVID-19 disease threatens those with preexisting health conditions. This disease’s impact occurs when the person suffers from preexisting health conditions for older adults. Various conditions such as diabetes, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular issues are common among older adults, raising the likelihood of severe COVID-19 and COVID-19-related death. Since the elderly have a weaker immune system than the younger generations, recovery and fighting the infection are considerably lower. The statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that since April 2020, more than 95% of the deaths related to COVID-19 were among people who were older than 60.
Senior Nursing Homes and the Crisis of COVID-19
Despite various governmental efforts to suppress the virus’s spread, some places act as the epicentre of COVID-19, and nursing homes and hospitals for seniors are among such sites. The danger is that the spread of coronavirus in these places puts the elderly at risk, but it can also have various life-threatening impacts on healthcare workers. This threat multiplies because more than 70% of the cases infected with coronavirus do not show any symptoms and act as silent vectors.
Seniors with Dementia and COVID-19
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are among the conditions which impact the elderly more than the other age groups. It might be difficult for seniors with dementia to understand better the potential dangers of COVID-19, which makes it impossible to follow safety precautions to protect themselves from the virus. The other difficulty which worsens the condition is the contraction of those who care for the elderly. Since they cannot leave the elderly independently, they cannot receive any therapeutic intervention, leading to fatal consequences.
The pandemic also has considerable psychosocial influences on different age groups, among coronavirus’s most common psychosocial impacts, anxiety, adjustment disorders, fear, stress, depression, and insomnia.
The elderly are among the most vulnerable groups to these conditions. The governments have suggested social isolation and social distancing as the primary strategies to prevent the infection spread. Social distancing is impossible for the elderly since it can worsen the sense of loneliness.
The younger generations can overcome the feeling of loneliness during social isolation and distance via different media, and they can amuse themselves with smartphones and various social media. That is not the case with the elderly because most of them are not comfortable with media or intelligent devices, which increases the sense of solitariness and limits their knowledge about the pandemic. Due to their lack of familiarity with media, language, family, or caregivers should explain the epidemic’s precautions using simple terms. For more information about avoiding Loneliness, Please read this article here.
Mental Health of Seniors During COVID-19 Pandemic and Quarantine
As noted earlier, social isolation can cause mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Physical distancing can increase cognitive impairment, worsen panic, and increase the difficulty of heeding the elderly’s precautions. Also, older adults suffering from mental health issues can show exacerbation symptoms during the crisis. However, WHO emphasizes the importance of the seniors in healthcare priority during the pandemic. The discrimination and lack of availability of health care facilities are among the factors leading to poor healthcare during COVID-19. Overloading their information about COVID-19 can cause paranoia and distrust of healthcare. That might have some consequences, like avoiding being quarantined. The panic hurts the individuals mentally, but it can also increase the spread of the coronavirus. We need to increase the sensitivity of early recognition of healthcare requirements and find the best solutions for the senior people during the pandemic.
Some steps are vital to be followed during the epidemic to keep both the elderly and ourselves safe. In some cases, the children leave far from their elderly parents or go to their offices and leave their parents alone at home.
One of the most important things you can do is keep them happy during the pandemic by calling them frequently by video calls to create security and happiness.
Some seniors are taking medicines, and it is essential to have their medication delivered to them online to restrict them from going out.
Various online drugstores and shops can cater to your door’s required medicine and groceries.
Medical Treatment During Pandemic
As the seniors are most vulnerable to the impacts of coronavirus and the doctor’s offices are prone to be infected with this virus. It is good to contact the doctors remotely and receive their consultations. You should also have the phone numbers of local care services and clinics in case of any emergency. When it is necessary to take them to the hospital or a healthcare center, ensure using a mask and paying attention to the protocols.
In dealing with the elderly, it is always necessary to be ready for emergencies. You should keep their medicine available all the time. In some cases, not taking the medication increases the risk of low immune system functioning, paving the way to being infected with the coronavirus. It is also advisable to check their blood sugar and pressure regularly.
Although the drugstores are essential services and have kept the activity during the pandemic, it is advised to stock the required medicine for a few weeks. That reduces the need to go out and ensures that they have their prescription for the next few weeks, reducing their stress.
Stay Away from Social Media and News
Another point to help the elderly during the pandemic is to limit their access to the news or media. Since social media and TV cover the statistics and recent information about the COVID-19, they can make Seniors worried about their lives. Ensure the older adult takes a break from following the news and social media. Instead, you can spend some time with them and do the activities they are interested in.
Foods and dietary supplements are another essential consideration for the elderly during the pandemic. Ensure they receive a well-balanced diet and provide them with vitamin C supplements to increase their immune system’s power. Hydration shouldn’t be forgotten during the pandemic, and refrain from getting a dry throat.
More Resources: The Role of Music in the Health of Seniors
We all wish to have a life without any threat from the epidemic. But we have to take care of the seniors who have dedicated their youth to us a demanding period. Taking the above considerations into account can help us to reduce the possibility of infection. The elderly are vulnerable not only to health issues but also to the psychosocial impacts of the pandemic.
Our responsibility is to provide a happy environment to live a stress-free life during these hardships. It is good to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) suggestions for caring for seniors during the pandemic, paying attention to their medical and psychological needs. That will enable us to respect their dignity and personal space and are the most critical components of the elderly’s mental health care of the elderly.