Solutions for Isolation in Older Adults During Pandemic

Solutions for Isolation in Older Adults During Pandemic
November 26 08:46 2020 Print This Article

The coronavirus pandemic places everyone at risk. The elderly, unfortunately, are at high risk. Advancing years result in a weakening of the immune system and if there are pre-existing medical conditions, the risk becomes even greater. Seniors who contract COVID-19 usually have the worst symptoms and suffer the most. That is why protecting them from infection is so critical. That means isolation. The problem with this is that while isolation is difficult for everyone, it is especially hard for the elderly who have limited access to many activities and whose main interest is interaction with family members and close friends. Specialists in geriatrics say that the mental stress and depression that comes from isolation could have serious long-term health implications for seniors. If your household includes elderly family members, here are some things that you can do to mitigate the stress that isolation places on them.

Social Distancing Is Not Social Isolation

 The elderly often have a set routine which includes going out for walks and spending time with friends and family. Going out, except when unavoidable, should be stopped. However, this could lead to feelings of isolation and depression. If you live in an apartment block, encourage the seniors to spend time on the balcony. The fresh air will be good for them and they may be able to strike up conversations with neighbors without having to go near them. Broadening the social circle this way will bring variety and freshness into their lives. Teaching the elderly to use computers and social media is not as difficult as young people think it to be. It may take a little time because the elderly do not have a background in this, but they will pick it up. If you can get the families of their friends to do the same, the familiar social circle can be re-created online.

Also Read: Geriatric Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Keep Them Occupied

 The isolation may protect them from COVID-19 but the boredom it causes can have other health implications. Find things for the elders to do around the house so that they are kept busy. This could include demonstrating old recipes, collecting and arranging old family memorabilia, talking to younger people about the songs and movies of the past, writing letters to relatives with whom you have lost touch or anything that does not strain them but allows them to use the wisdom and experience of their years. If in doubt, ask a geriatrician.

Prevent the Rest of the Family  infecting the elderly

No matter what precautions you take, the biggest risk of infection for the elderly is from others living in the same home. Ensuring that the younger members of the household and other domestic staff practice the following will help reduce the risk of infection for seniors:

  • Hands should be washed before entering the room where the seniors are.
  • If people have been out to crowded places, they must thoroughly wash and change their clothes before going near the seniors.
  • Special attention must be given to cleanliness when helping seniors with daily activities, while preparing food, etc.
  • Those parts of the home which the seniors occupy or where they spend time must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.
  • Young members of the family returning from high schools, colleges, hostels and social gatherings, who may be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic are of high risk to the elderly. They must practice scrupulous personal hygiene and including wearing a mask if suspect.

Keep It Simple

The physical precautions to be taken during the pandemic are well known and are especially important for the elderly. Geriatricians say that taking care of their mental health is as important as following other pandemic protocols.

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Karaikudi, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Karaikudi – 04565 244555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777

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