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Lonely Elders Hit Hard by the Rigors of Social Distancing and Self-isolation; They May Need Help, says AMAC

hitWASHINGTON, DC, Oct 16 — It’s no secret that America’s elderly population is among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic.  Not only are they at higher risk of infection, those who live alone are more likely to succumb to the loneliness of precautionary self-isolation, says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

How bad is it for our senior population?  “Bad enough that desperate residents of a long-term care facility in Greely, CO, sick and tired of COVID-19 restrictions, recently staged a protest.  Many of them were in wheel-chairs and holding signs that read ‘Rather die from COVID than loneliness,’  ‘Prisoners in our own home’ and ‘Give us freedom’,” says Weber.

She notes that Pew Research recently found that 27% of adults ages 60 and older live alone in the U.S.  Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control reports that many of them are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk.  In fact, the CDC cites studies that show:

  • Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
  • Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
  • Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
  • Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.

“Those of us who have what we might call normal lifestyles feel lonely when we haven’t seen our friends and family in more than a couple of days.  Imagine not having friends and family in the best of times and now that the world is dealing with the deadly coronavirus your norm is solitary confinement,” says Weber.

Here are some Websites that may provide you with ideas on how to overcome the perils of loneliness if you, a neighbor, a loved one are exhibiting the rigors of self-isolation and masked faces:

https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-loneliness-during-coronavirus-4799661

https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/ways-to-cope-with-feeling-lonely-in-coronavirus-self-isolation

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2020/solutions-around-world-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation-during-covid-19

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-prevent-loneliness-in-a-time-of-social-distancing/

About AMAC: The 2.1 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Kim
7 days ago

As someone who prefers to be alone much of the time (not the same as being lonely), I can easily see how isolation can contribute to depression and falling into unhealthy habits.

At times, I go out for long drives in the country, taking photographs, or a walk in the woods. It’s instantly refreshing, exhilarating, and highly recommended!

Jeanette Fenton
6 days ago

This applies even if not “lonely” since My husband and I help each other a lot. But “stay at home” and not being able to go out and about, visit with friends, etc for so long has made it very trying and difficult… your brain starts to fog, you get tired and frustrated with this extended “pandemic”. It helps to be able to video talk with family and take walks or work on-line, but it is not the same. So you get more brain foggy and tired.

Gloria P. Sterling
6 days ago

I am so thankful to be able to get around and drive myself at my age of 89. There are many others, tho’ who are much less fortunate. I know, at least, one who has to speak to her mother in a home through a window, no personal contact. That is abominable, in my opinion. Praise God for all blessings! (By the way, I hate the mask and only wear it where mandated; that is no way to build up immunity and have lived through many epidemics and pandemics where no one healthy was quarantined or isolated and we lived… Read more »

Bob L.
6 days ago

I guess most people need interaction with others, some a lot and some not as much. I can take it or leave it, mostly leave it. Coming by for a chat is fine most times though. Sometimes. I think I should have been born 80-100 years earlier, way out in the country. I don’t like vehicles, appliances, and other things smarter than I am. If my phone rings more than twice a day, I call it names and most numbers I don’t know go unanswered. I don’t text, tweet, or message. I use the internet some on my desktop, but… Read more »

Gayle K Moody
6 days ago

In addition to single senior adults having issues, the “social isolation” is also hard on senior adult couples who have no other outlet for socialization during the shutdown. 24/7 with a spouse, no matter how compatible you are, is difficult when you have no way to regroup. For the person who cooks, the fact that going out to eat is almost an impossibility, trying to come up with three meals a day is also a strain. You can be lonely and feel isolated even when you live with another person.

Joan Amato
5 days ago

I hate masks! And I abhor the lockdowns. I knew from the very beginning lockdowns and fear are enemies to all of us. I moved during the pandemic in March and almost didn’t have my mover. He didn’t know if he was essential or not. Being home wasn’t so bad, but now being still cautioned to remaining locked down during this election year, we know this is political. We know that this is a power grab. We know that irrational Governors and Mayors have been issuing Draconian measures to ensure that they reign supreme in their power. It’s been eight… Read more »

David L
6 days ago

The creation of the Coronavirus in a laboratory and it being released to the world was done by very vicious and evil people. Young people can afford to lose 3 to 7 years of their lives by social distancing and isolation because they have a long life span in front of them after the disease is mitigated. However, senior citizens are most impacted because we can not afford to lose 3 to 7 years of our lives because our time is limited before we die. This disease takes away our opportunity to travel and enjoy our remaining years. My dream… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by David L
Don Keener
6 days ago

Loneliness contributed to my Mothers death a few weeks ago. It was really ruff on her and the sad thing is, there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Jean
6 days ago

I wish there were a way to get a hard copy of your letters. I don’t have a printer attached to my computer, but your letters andother communications are well worth saving. Thiis particular one hits at home. I live alone, in a building reserved for seniors, and the pandemic has hit us hard–not with illness of a physival nature, but with the loneliness and aloneness. For several months, we were instructed not to congregate anywhere. As you can imagine, this was very hard for all of us. If not for my computer and telephone, I would have had a… Read more »

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