Before COVID-19 we knew that our seniors were a vulnerable population. They are high risk for medical errors, misdiagnosis and poor health outcomes. Now, we have elevated the risk by adding stress, fear, isolation, loneliness and barriers in access to medical services. Our seniors have been on lock down since early March 2020. They are isolated with minimal family interaction and have barriers to support systems.
To our elderly, COVID-19 is a virus that has affected them like no other. When we talk to our clients and family they tell us: they are scared, they fear for their health and the health of their families. They are very lonely and isolation is very overwhelming. The most heartbreaking aspect to us as patient advocates and children of seniors is that they now feel like they are a burden to society as well as their families. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the mentality and emotions of our seniors
What seniors are feeling?
One of our clients stated “I have over the last few years had the feeling of being a burden on my family and society. This feeling has really intensified since this COVID-19 Pandemic.” Another client who is widowed stated “I am scared that if I do anything outside my home others will look at me like I shouldn’t be there. I feel like if I get sick I will take up valuable resources of the healthy.” The reactions and strategies in place have pushed this population into an emotional vulnerability on top of the physical risks they already experience.
The CDC has provided a list of resources to help with stress and coping https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
Why do they feel this way?
The Unites States and other countries around the globe went into an immediate protective plan of action. All care communities and senior communities went on lockdown. All elderly were highly recommended to self-isolate. Due to these mandates we are still trying to regain our balance of life back. As time goes on it is evident that we are not providing enough support to them. The isolation and loneliness is not diminishing. We can support this population with available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), accessible testing in the care communities and senior care communities, as well as a plan in their communities to be reunited with their families and society.
How long can we expect them to wait? We urge you to ask for support for yourself and your loved ones.