I’m 62 years old so I’m one of those older adults the governor says should shelter in place. I try to be careful – wear a mask, keep 6’ distance and wash my hands a lot. But I have to come to work so we can get out meals to people and do all the other work it takes to run a senior center.
The research says Covid 19 has impacted older adults more than any other population. It isolates and diminishes. I don’t know about you but it’s hard and downright depressing sometimes. Life is so different and much of what I really enjoy is temporarily denied.
I’ve been reading research on the impacts of social isolation. I learned social isolation leads to:
- Isolation has increased risk of mortality (as result of less of a network of confidantes to encourage prompt
medical attention when needed).
- Loneliness negatively affects both physical and mental health.
- Loneliness contributes to cognitive decline and risk of dementia. We’re hard wired to be social creatures so when that need isn’t met there are impacts
- Social isolation makes seniors more vulnerable to scams and elder abuse.
- LGBTQ seniors are much more likely to be socially isolated as they are less likely to have children or are estranged from families.
- Social isolation is linked to higher engagement in unhealthy behaviors
- Loneliness is a major risk factor for depression and pessimism about the future.
- Loneliness causes high blood pressure along with many chronic diseases.
That’s not very cheerful news. But I was researching so I know what to do to help myself and all of you. Here’s
what we can do to live better during Covid.
- Connection and friendship is key. So call your friends and keep contact. Join our penpal program local teens have started. (Teens are having a hard time with Covid too.) And come to the zoom continental café to chat and laugh. (We can show you how to zoom or you can just call in.)
- Brain Fitness is important. We are offering zoom classes on a myriad of topics plus a weekly brain fitness class. Puzzles and information are included with every meal. Jigsaw puzzles are available at the Center to
borrow. Painting supplies are provided for pick up at lunch and classes offered on Zoom. So keep your brain active!
- Physical Fitness is important and offered through zoom yoga and Move It Monday classes. We have some print outs of exercises you can do at home if you like too!
- Nutrition: Our hot made from scratch meals are famous and only a $5 donation so try it out for a change of pace. I always look forward to seeing what deliciousness Jennifer created. I never miss a meal (which my snug pants remind me!)
- Mental Health: The Social Worker, Kelly, provides 3 support groups: Grief for widows and widowers, Family Caregiver Support and Kinship for Grandparents raising Grandkids. She provides one on one counseling plus information and referrals. She can provide volunteers to assist with transportation to the doctor, pharmacy or grocery store. She also has volunteers to help with minor home repair. Anything to make shelter in place more bearable!
So take care of yourself, because we can’t wait to see you when this is over!
Lisa Yeager, Director, Lisay@soundgenerations.org