Deprived of contact, isolation has become the second ‘pandemic’ for older people | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
Lonlieness, depression, delayed access to medical care, and the loss of loved ones are just some of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on our country’s older population. Marie Mulvihill, a clinical nurse specialist in geriatric medicine at Cork University Hospital (CUH), says patients who have had their first vaccine are most looking forward to “spending time with family”. The lack of social contact has taken a huge toll on older patients. Cognitively, she says, many of them have “gone downhill… they don’t know what day of the week it is, they have lost interest, they are frail, and unsure of themselves”, Ms Mulvihill says.
“I think the fact that they have no social outlet, so no access to day centres, no meet-ups (like bingo or bridge) to look forward to, they can’t go to Mass, no social activities, no family visits, many are afraid to go out, so they have had very little social interaction,” Ms Mulvihill says. “They see their adult children coming with groceries and prescriptions, but grandchildren are not visiting and they are missing that. The loneliness for those who don’t have a family is particularly difficult.”