Combatting sense of isolation of the elderly | Sunday Observer

Combatting sense of isolation of the elderly

22 August, 2021

With the Covid-19 pandemic taking its toll on the elderly population, it is understood that the elderly people are currently facing a wave of issues in which the amount of anxiety, physical fatigue, discrimination and social withdrawal have become the most immediate among many other things.

Researchers declare that to deal with health related problems, possessing a healthy immune system is a mandatory requirement. In that context, it is of great importance to improve the overall health of the people. It could be accomplished through proper physical activity, a balanced diet and coping strategies for mental health of people, the elders in particular. 

According to researchers, during the pandemic, the physical exercises have the potential of giving a lot of benefits to the elderly people to increase their immunity. Similarly, a policy, focused on the needs of the elderly people is able to guarantee that their rights are well protected; thereby they are not neglected by the provisions of the governments.

Vulnerable group

The elderly people as a highly vulnerable group will be assisted by the adoption of policies to cope up with social distancing measures whereby their needs for social, physical and psychological protection are addressed in the institutional welfare programs or at their homes. Since, the complications of Covid-19 is a severe blow to the elderly people, it is suggested that prompt and immediate solutions are required to mitigate the negative health effects of Covid-19 on the ageing population.

There is a strong need to convince the older people that they are well protected, looked after and safe during the pandemic as they are highly vulnerable to the detrimental consequences of the Corona virus.

The researchers say that as the elderly people are vulnerable to some negative consequences of the Corona virus such as depression, isolation and anxiety, the much needed sense of emotional fulfilment and security should be considered as absolutely critical and crucial during the time of physical and social isolation.

It is declared that caring treatments which are able to increase and enhance their sense of wellbeing are needed by the elderly people. It has also been found out that such caring treatments are able to increase the benefits of being valuable, protected, loved, looked after and cherished as opposed to the negative feelings of being disposable and expendable.

Researchers said that mattering contributes towards the increased happiness of elderly people which can also reduce their level of depression and loneliness. To reduce the negative consequences of loneliness and isolation and also to sustain the social interaction of elderly population, they need the company of family caregivers and other forms of assistance.

It is clear that this mattering is afterwards linked to the physical health of the ageing population to mitigate their tension, anxiety and concerns on the crisis having effects on their bodies. You notice that to get connected with other people and maintain their social relationships during the pandemic, around the world, people rely on the social media or virtual world. It is understood that the pandemic is likely to alter the way in which the elderly people experience ageing as they are required to go online for social relationships.

Social interaction

Albeit, currently, there are restrictions, imposed on the social gatherings due to health concerns, the elderly people are certainly in need of having opportunities where they can have the social interaction and participation. The elderly people will have the need of using digital platforms whereby they are able to interact with their families and friends via online communication.

While a considerable number of elderly people, particularly those who live in the developed countries are able to have access to these platforms and devices to stay connected, it is also of importance to recognise that there are inequalities for the access of technology and connectivity for the elderly people living in the developing countries to foster social relationships.

While the ageing population is not universally susceptible to Covid-19, nor is it the only victim, it is clear that a cross section of elderly people faces some unique risks. For instance, the elderly living in rural areas relatively have got higher rates of some forms of rudimentary health conditions, they may still complain that they have limited access to health care and owing to that they may even experience tense and volatile circumstances, due to Covid-19.

Researchers said that particularly among the countries in the developing rim, pre-existing rural and urban inequalities related to the capacity of health care, access to technology, economic security and social needs together with within rural inequalities by socio-demographic characteristics amount to the increased risk of isolation and illness among many elderly people, located in rural settings.

Non-technology reliant measures

As a result of that, owing to the issues related to connectivity, financial constraints, environmental settings and technical limitations, a large number of elderly people may not have advanced devices and online health communications. Therefore, due consideration should be given to non-technology reliant guidelines and measures of health communication.

It is of utmost importance to give the elderly people the family support and encouragement to get involved with physical exercises by being with them personally or virtually.

This would give them a strong degree of emotional value and support. Most significantly during the pandemic, a considerable number of elderly people are trying to make use of online social relations to communicate with their friends and families.

However, it is the duty of the family members to assist the elders, as some of them still may have difficulties with the complexities of the novel technology. The intervention could be included with telephone calls with loved ones, friends and charity organisations. Apart from that, it is good to have social digital leisure for elderly people to combat their isolation by creating a sense of community.