WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 16 — It’s no secret that America’s elderly population is among the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic. Not only are they at higher risk of infection, those who live alone are more likely to succumb to the loneliness of precautionary self-isolation, says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].
How bad is it for our senior population? “Bad enough that desperate residents of a long-term care facility in Greely, CO, sick and tired of COVID-19 restrictions, recently staged a protest. Many of them were in wheel-chairs and holding signs that read ‘Rather die from COVID than loneliness,’ ‘Prisoners in our own home’ and ‘Give us freedom’,” says Weber.
She notes that Pew Research recently found that 27% of adults ages 60 and older live alone in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control reports that many of them are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk. In fact, the CDC cites studies that show:
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
“Those of us who have what we might call normal lifestyles feel lonely when we haven’t seen our friends and family in more than a couple of days. Imagine not having friends and family in the best of times and now that the world is dealing with the deadly coronavirus your norm is solitary confinement,” says Weber.
Here are some Websites that may provide you with ideas on how to overcome the perils of loneliness if you, a neighbor, a loved one are exhibiting the rigors of self-isolation and masked faces:
About AMAC: The 2.1 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.
I am going suicidal and depressed in EUGENE OREGON LANE COUNTY because of the isolation.i have decided to not obey any covid isolation any more and ask my caregiver to take me shopping in a big grocery store so I can go out.because Oregon is a Democrat state there are no mental health care services at all.there is no help for seniors I would rather get sick and die from covivid than die from forced isolation.they use forced isolation on convicts in prison to destroy them.the government. Covid is China’s fault,and Biden will just screw up all we seniors. Oregon is a horrible state to live in,its sucks very expensive,full of yuppies and hippie bums.i hate it,but I have no where else to live.
I hate masks! And I abhor the lockdowns. I knew from the very beginning lockdowns and fear are enemies to all of us. I moved during the pandemic in March and almost didn’t have my mover. He didn’t know if he was essential or not. Being home wasn’t so bad, but now being still cautioned to remaining locked down during this election year, we know this is political. We know that this is a power grab. We know that irrational Governors and Mayors have been issuing Draconian measures to ensure that they reign supreme in their power. It’s been eight months of mandates and lockdowns that eliminate our right to choose: mask or no mask, or to keep open our hard earned business open or not. Statistics are being altered to say that with the regular flu season upon us they are lumping all flu like illnesses as covid. False reporting done deliberately. It’s keeps us in a state of fear and lockdowns. Our children are being affected. How do you feel seeing a two year old barely able to walk wear a mask? It’s sickening with all the data that says children are not likely to get it or spread it. We are constantly lied to every day we turn on the TV or read something on the Internet. I go out and shop and wear the mask in stores. When outside it comes off and I breathe God’s beautiful fresh air. If no one’s around in the store, I take the mask off. I get depressed on and off and look to God for help. My life is not the same. Many friends have passed away. My writing group is using zoom to talk about our work on poetry. I don’t do zoom. I won’t do zoom. It’s not the same. I am looking toward spring as I hope and pray this is over. I want my American life back to where it was, doing what I loved to do without fear or mandates. I am fortunate to see my family often and we celebrate over a dozen birthdays during the year. We won’t give up our rights to not have Thanksgiving or Christmas as Fauci suggests. The enemies to change this country forever are many. But we, as senior citizens, have seen so much more. We have to use our voting power and tell our grandchildren the dangers of what’s happening. I highly recommend all of us read Erwin W. Lutzer’s book: “When A Nation Forgets God, 7 Lessons we must learn from Nazi Germany.” And then when Hitler was exterminating the Jews, we did nothing. Let’s do something within our circle of life. And never succumb to believe this is the new normal. Then we are believing that this situation will replace good governance and push all reason aside. We are the world’s wisdom and we must use that gift of knowledge wisely.
I don’t wear a mask. I tried and nearly fainted while shopping for groceries. I spent about 25% of what I normally spend in one shopping trip because I simply could not breath in the mask. I later had a conversation with a manager at that store. Now, I shop without a mask and no one so much as raises an eyebrow. I also have continued to travel. My 2 sons live about 1,000 miles apart. I have visited them both despite orders from a corrupt tyrant of a governor telling people to not leave the state and return. I attend church on Sunday except for the days they decide to close and not have live services. This angers me. The incidence in my county is very low and everyone practices social distancing at church. I live alone and only go out when necessary. I hate that so many people have been fooled by all the lies. I am a survivor of the 1957 Asian Flu epidemic. This lockdown is total nonsense and is NOT good for any of us. At least I can still think for myself and I do not obey tryants and corrupt politicians. If more citizens would rebel, we just might be able to put a stop to the nonsense and get back to normal.
I agree with Joan. I have consistently refused to wear a mask except at the doctor’s and dentist’s offices. Had no choice there. I still work 2 days a week and my company hasn’t forced masks on us. I shop without a mask as long as I stay in my conservative County. We have a conservative sheriff who refuses to infringe on our freedom of choice. I’ve traveled out of state to resorts where I stay in my villa or do outdoor activities where masks aren’t mandated. I attend church service without a mask. I’m 72 and still very healthy.
The creation of the Coronavirus in a laboratory and it being released to the world was done by very vicious and evil people. Young people can afford to lose 3 to 7 years of their lives by social distancing and isolation because they have a long life span in front of them after the disease is mitigated. However, senior citizens are most impacted because we can not afford to lose 3 to 7 years of our lives because our time is limited before we die. This disease takes away our opportunity to travel and enjoy our remaining years. My dream of traveling to the Holy Land may be lost due to this very fact. I repeat the creation and release of this disease was done by very evil people who do not care about others and are more concerned about power.
I am so thankful to be able to get around and drive myself at my age of 89. There are many others, tho’ who are much less fortunate. I know, at least, one who has to speak to her mother in a home through a window, no personal contact. That is abominable, in my opinion. Praise God for all blessings! (By the way, I hate the mask and only wear it where mandated; that is no way to build up immunity and have lived through many epidemics and pandemics where no one healthy was quarantined or isolated and we lived through them very well) (Also, from what I understand, the regular flu virus has killed more than this COVID one). Thanks for letting me “air” my opinion and frustration.
I guess most people need interaction with others, some a lot and some not as much. I can take it or leave it, mostly leave it. Coming by for a chat is fine most times though. Sometimes. I think I should have been born 80-100 years earlier, way out in the country. I don’t like vehicles, appliances, and other things smarter than I am.
If my phone rings more than twice a day, I call it names and most numbers I don’t know go unanswered. I don’t text, tweet, or message. I use the internet some on my desktop, but could do just as well without it. No laptop, no tablet, and my phone is an older flip phone with too many features on it that I don’t use. The TV is for news and 1930’s– 50’s movies with very few from the 60’s or later. Today’s movies are all trash. .
I wish there were a way to get a hard copy of your letters. I don’t have a printer attached to my computer, but your letters andother communications are well worth saving. Thiis particular one hits at home. I live alone, in a building reserved for seniors, and the pandemic has hit us hard–not with illness of a physival nature, but with the loneliness and aloneness. For several months, we were instructed not to congregate anywhere. As you can imagine, this was very hard for all of us. If not for my computer and telephone, I would have had a very hard time of it. People need to realize that telephones can make calls TO as well as receive calls. If you know of a senior living alone, CALL THAT PERSON. Do not leave it to the senior to reach out.
In addition to single senior adults having issues, the “social isolation” is also hard on senior adult couples who have no other outlet for socialization during the shutdown. 24/7 with a spouse, no matter how compatible you are, is difficult when you have no way to regroup. For the person who cooks, the fact that going out to eat is almost an impossibility, trying to come up with three meals a day is also a strain. You can be lonely and feel isolated even when you live with another person.
Loneliness contributed to my Mothers death a few weeks ago. It was really ruff on her and the sad thing is, there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
So sorry for your loss. Thanks be to God that I can get around without assistance and I will be 90 yrs. young in just a few months. It doesn’t mean I’m not lonesome, tho’, to be able to see friends who are isolated. Praying for you to have Holy Spirit comfort in your loss.
Mr. Keener, I kind of know what you are talking about. My Mother passed away in August of this year. She was in a Memory Care unit. I would see her every day for at least a couple hours, until covid hit. Then I would see her for a shorter time, at best, through a window. Sometimes Mom would say, “come on in”. I do not think she understood, but she was patient. She did not die directly of covid, but I think she died of a broken heart. The workers did great, but they are only allowed to do so much. I miss her & I never felt it was a burden going to see her, but I am glad she is gone because I do believe the lack of physical contact for the residents is a form of torture for them. I do wish those homes would do better at supplying the physical touch need the residents have.
This applies even if not “lonely” since My husband and I help each other a lot. But “stay at home” and not being able to go out and about, visit with friends, etc for so long has made it very trying and difficult… your brain starts to fog, you get tired and frustrated with this extended “pandemic”. It helps to be able to video talk with family and take walks or work on-line, but it is not the same. So you get more brain foggy and tired.
YES,I AM VERY SUICIDAL AND DEPRESSED AND SICK FROM BEING ISOLATED.
As someone who prefers to be alone much of the time (not the same as being lonely), I can easily see how isolation can contribute to depression and falling into unhealthy habits.
At times, I go out for long drives in the country, taking photographs, or a walk in the woods. It’s instantly refreshing, exhilarating, and highly recommended!
I agree with you. If I had a car, I would not feel so isolated—even if I did not take it out once in a while. Just knowing it’s available is a mental boost!
My mother, who shares your name, died earlier this year. A year before that, we decided that she, at 94, should no longer drive, so we sold her car. She said the same thing you did–that just seeing it parked in front would have given her consolation.
Have you checked out YouTube videos? Some are quite soothing to watch. I was on a 4-hour phone call the other day, and found a beautiful 2-hour video with salt water fish, turtles, and jellyfish swimming around. Stunning! I’ve also watched people just driving or cycling around–historical narrations, explaining landmarks. For me, nature heals, so I gravitate toward nature themes, waterfalls, places of interest. There is so much “out there”, and it helps us feel connected. Pick any subject and search!
Or write that novel you’ve been thinking about…Stay well, everybody.