By Linda Williams
In the past week alone, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has consistently broken daily case records in the U.S. Even in the absence of clear guidance from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the talks of a second lockdown are looming over LA-county residents.
As the state with the second-highest total cases in the country, California is, once again, stepping into our national spotlight. Since experts once considered the Golden State a COVID-19 hotspot at the beginning of the pandemic, this alarming status isn’t entirely new for those who live in the region.
Zooming into Los Angeles County specifically, the effects of medical equipment shortage and abrupt lockdowns have rattled residents in nearby cities. Most shaken of all are those elderly LA-county residents who’ve had to stave off the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of restricted senior visitations and social isolation while simultaneously acknowledging their elevated risk factors.
Maintaining contact via Lively Direct senior-friendly cell phones or similar devices has helped seniors cope with their new realities. Unfortunately, senior citizens often lag behind as the world adapts to life-changing technological innovations. Because these elderly communities struggle to follow a basics-only cell phone use demonstration, they’ll often forgo mobile devices altogether.
That said, those under the age of 65 must do their due diligence to learn about the toll that a second COVID-19 lockdown can take on elderly folks’ wellbeing. With a proactive approach, grandkids and children to elderly parents can take proper actions to protect the senior citizens in their lives against the emotional consequences of mandatory quarantine measures.
The physical dangers of self-quarantine loneliness
According to AARP, nearly 20 percent of older adults in the U.S. feel socially isolated. As family visits face necessary restrictions, these loved ones won’t be able to visit these elderly patients during the holiday season. With these restrictions in mind, it’s not surprising to know how easy it is for senior citizens to feel detached from social activities even during their normal routine.
When you put additional visitation restrictions on top of those imposed back in March, these effects can grow twofold. Not to mention that in addition to having little to no communication, senior citizens also have to cope with the side effects of limited mobility.
Not being able to go for a walk, visit relatives, or attend recreational activities can undoubtedly take a toll on senior citizens’ physical health. Whether you’re an older adult yourself or related to someone going through this situation, these negative impacts are apparent.
For instance, when senior citizens aren’t exercising as much as they should, their muscles and bones start to deteriorate. In addition to causing joint inflammation, reduced muscle mass, and decreased endurance, a lack of physical exercise also triggers chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
The mental toll of CDC-mandated isolation
As mentioned above, the overall effects of isolation resonate with many senior citizens, even pre-COVID-19. Through measures such as CDC-mandated isolation, concerns of depression induced by social isolation increase by a worrying degree.
If you or your loved ones aren’t able to connect, it’s easy to tumble into a pit of depression due to a lack of social contact. Suppose you identify as a loved one of a senior citizen. In that case, feelings of anxiety about their well-being can slowly eat away at you, causing your mental well-being to spiral.
If you identify as a senior citizen, thoughts of your own loneliness are likely to induce panic, especially when faced with an uncertain future. With the added layer of impending doom and possible virus contraction, elderly communities are bound to suffer severe mental consequences.
When isolated and deprived of any physical contact with the outside world, a senior’s sense of motivation may be dampened. Participating in activities all by your lonesome is rarely fun in the first place. Spending extended periods alone is even more emotionally-taxing where you don’t know whether you’re going to see your family and friends ever again.
During these unprecedented lockdown phases, senior citizens can become distressed. That said, you and your loved ones must take sufficient measures to stay connected and entertained.
In these trying times, purchasing a senior-friendly cell phone or medical alert device can help your or your loved ones combat the adverse effects of CDC-recommended social isolation. With an easy-to-use cell phone in hand (free from the hassles of touchscreens), you can ensure that fears of technology don’t get in the way of reaching those who matter the most.
You can also invest in a computer, laptop, or tablet, which allows you to communicate via video, voice, or even text, ensuring that you, your friends, and your family don’t feel isolated from each other. You can also look into hobbies such as calligraphy or knitting to keep yourself occupied.
Speaking on the cell phone or hosting a video call can also come in handy when participating in group activities. Whether you are watching The Great British Baking Show or a Hollywood classic, you can stay connected without risking your safety.
If you and your social circle are tech-savvy, you can also play simple games over the web that keep you entertained. Browsing social media, reading news, and consuming entertainment are achievable tasks with a cell phone at your ready access.
To keep the physical effects of isolation at bay, seniors can also take a walk through their assisted living facilities, take a few laps around their backyard, or even use an at-home treadmill to maintain physical endurance. By engaging in routine physical exercise, senior citizens can retain their mobility even amid a pandemic. If you’re reading these suggestions as a caregiver, you can easily pass on this advice to your loved one in LA County.
By keeping these measures in mind, you can ensure to make it through a lockdown situation without suffering from excessive physical or mental side effects. Remember, it’s essential that you discuss these tips and tricks with every older adult in your close circle, so you can take care of each other during this trying time.