Social Isolation The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Hidden Health Risk for Older Adults
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I feel that the world has changed all of a sudden due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a social stigma that’s going around as the WHO and government urge everyone to practice social distancing and quarantine to combat the virus. Both as a protection and a mistrust of those who might possibly be afflicted with COVID-19. And with too many uncertainties lurking around, stress and anxiety are an all-time high. Elevated by the fact that we cannot even hug or be with the people we care and love.
I’ve seen two sets of people in this crisis: those who stay confined in their houses having everything they need versus those who struggle to stay afloat in these trying times. And it made me think about how we are threading the same water but not on the same boat. And those aged 60 or older adults are riding on a weak boat that can topple down faster than a Titanic.
The truth hurts that in this time of crisis when we need companionship the most, the same companionship could put us in danger. Our elders, being one of the high-risk populace, had to exercise extra precaution in exposing themselves to crowds and other people who might wreak havoc to their health. However, we also forget the fact that most of the illnesses our elders get are driven by depression and anxiety. The social distancing protocol had not only limited their social interaction but the overall connection to the outside world. Being social humans as we are, lack of connection leads to self-isolation. And self-isolation is a mental health issue that triggers and heightens the risk of contracting the chronic disease and psychiatric disorders. Both could lead to premature death.
The digital world has made it possible for our elders to survive these hard times. It makes it possible for us to interact with our loved ones and friends. Also, it offers entertainment and online classes to alleviate boredom and anxiety. However, nothing beats personal interaction. And that’s when institutions such as Integrity Care and Staffing, located in Seattle, WA, makes a difference. Providing home care services for elderly adults to ensure their health is taken care of and accompanied during these uncertain times.