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Elderly people in the pandemic

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elderly lady

Covid 19 had bought about some serious changes for all of us. Lifestyles have been overhauled completely and everybody has had to adjust. The senior population has had some difficult times trying to make these adjustments.

We all know that faculties, both physical and mental begin to deteriorate as people enter life after retirement age. Imagine having this knowledge and expecting it or having actually experienced it while your outside world is consumed by a raging pandemic.

This is exactly what the elderly population is experiencing right now and have only staggered support to help them. Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe said during a WHO press briefing “Older adults are at a significantly increased risk of severe disease following infection from COVID-19”

The elderly are in a state of constant hyper-vigilance knowing that they lie in the risk category. Constantly reading about these articles and with news on the TV, keeping up with the death toll and recovery numbers. Taking all this information and analyzing it, dissecting it bit by bit and trying to figure out where we come off in the future. This has created a sense of heightened alertness and anxiety leading to worsening of preexisting ailments, development of maladaptive behaviour and extreme mental stress.

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A significant part of the elderly population is not very independent and therefore require constant support. This has come to a sudden halt during these times as caregivers and staff from the hospital can no longer make these trips. This has left the senior citizens in a lurch, without a system to rely on. Trips to the market, household chores and daily routines have become a struggle for them, as they require external aid for these activities.

The elderly will possibly be experiencing a sense of social isolation and exclusion since outside trips are a large majority of our social interaction. Switching over to digital tools is cumbersome for various reasons. It takes quite some time to get acquainted with the features of various calling apps. With technical issues and no one there to take them through the process engaging through technology also becomes limited and hassle some. Even if they are well versed with tools of technology there are other issues of data packs and network connectivity.

In these times trips to hospitals have also been stooped almost completely. With limited healthcare professionals taking home calls and the general precautions that one has to take while engaging with people outside their homes, the elderly are having trouble keeping up with their health

It has become difficult for caregivers, family and close friends, to reach out to their elderly family members and take care of them. This may come off as neglect to the elderly and take a major toll on the mental well being of their family members and other caregivers.

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Another hindrance is the blatant ageism that exists in society which makes access and reference of medical facilities challenging for the elderly. This general attitude of the society must be done away with as it is obvious that the elderly contribute to society through valuable men’s and massive ways.

As said Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge  said “Supporting and protecting older people living alone in the community is everyone’s business.”

It is important for all of us to come together during these times and take on us for humanity’s wellbeing as a whole. It is essential to be able to understand and extend any and all help to the elderly population because coming together and helping each other is what humankind is best at.

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Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Currently head of Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh is a mental wellness expert with expertise in relationship, lifestyle & stress management. The founder and director of The Mind and Wellness Studio Dr. Rachna Khanna has worked with leading hospitals like Fortis Escorts, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital. Her specialties include stress management, lifestyle management for heart diseases, supportive care for chronically ill patients, work-life balance, parent-child bonding, cancer support care, ante/postnatal care, relationship counselling, pre-marital & marital counselling, adolescent counselling, psychiatric & psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety, insomnia.

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