Some people are more susceptible to Covid-19. This includes older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. This is one of the reasons why they are advised to isolate and shelter in place after the pandemic hit the globe. Even as economies slowly open, seniors are still advised to take extra precautions and remain sheltering in place.
But after months of isolation, most people, including seniors can no longer bear the thought of staying indoors and being away from their loved ones.
How the Pandemic Impacted the Mental Health of Seniors
Some seniors are already used to self-isolation. This is true especially among those who chose to age in place. But this does not mean they are already accustomed to the extreme measures being implemented and advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC.
Before, seniors who are strong enough to travel can visit their families whenever they can. Now, they are advised to stay indoors most of the time and to limit trips even if it meant running some errands. Even a simple chat with the neighbors can pose a threat to seniors, making them feel a lot more isolated and depressed than ever.
Seniors who now live in retirement homes also feel the threat of the pandemic. Some assisted living communities had cases of Covid-19. This prompted staff to take extreme health and safety measures, thus isolating seniors who used to enjoy the company of staff and other seniors living inside the community.
Aside from the feelings of isolation and physical social distancing, more seniors are feeling anxious and depressed due to other reasons. For one, they fear for their health as well the well-being of their loved ones. Add the fact that numerous misinformation is rampant both online and offline only adds to their worries.
Why Seniors Are More Resilient Than We Give Them Credit for
The crisis continues to test the resilience of seniors. We may think of them as frail, weak and easily get depressed. But we should give them more credit because they are actually more resilient.
Seniors have been through a lot. They already had numerous experiences that made them tougher than they may look. They have experienced wins and failures, luck and misfortunes, even the death of close loved ones.
Most seniors are habituated with feelings of loneliness. This is especially true since their kids most likely left the nest after reaching adulthood. Some have been living alone. Others are already got accustomed to only seeing the staff. Some even accepted the fact that their loved ones only answer their calls when it is convenient for them.
But with the pandemic still ongoing, even the most resilient seniors are beginning to feel stressed out. Some of their loved ones succumbed to the virus. The continued social distancing and isolation can cause seniors to isolate more, engage less, and withdraw even more from society.
One reason for this is because even if some states are starting to relax their restrictions, seniors are still urged to stay put. The CDC may be advising them to continue sheltering in place for their own sake. But as social creatures, we can only last too long without meaningful interactions in real life.
How Seniors Learned to Thrive During Covid-19
Older adults may not be avid users of technology. But even they started to be more active in social media after the pandemic. They use this to connect with their friends and reach out to their loved ones who live thousands of miles away.
Now, seniors make use of social media and other apps that allow them to contact their family, friends, and acquaintances. While technology helps build bridges, this can never replace interactions in real life. But with the pandemic, this will have to do for now.
They are also using different forms of media to stay informed with covid-19 related news. Some are tuned in on the radio while others opt for newspapers and the television. Some use the internet to get to know more about the latest developments in the global health crisis.
How We Can Help Boost Senior Mental Well-being Mid-Pandemic
Chances are we know at least one senior who could use a bit more company during the pandemic. But since they are more at risko catching the virus and getting seriously ill from it, we can opt for safer ways to help them feel less isolated and anxious.
For one, we can use technology to call them and ask how they are doing every once in a while. We may not be able to hug them when visiting. But we can always drop by their homes or where they currently live and maintain a safe distance to show them we still remember them.
It is also crucial that we tell them the right news and information related to the pandemic. It pays to let them know of the valid sources to ease their anxious minds.
Being a senior during the pandemic is nowhere easy. They may be resilient to some extent, but everyone can only stay strong for so long. They too, need our help to stay physically and mentally strong.
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.