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THE ELDERLY BATTLE LONELINESS AND ANXIETY AMIDST THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID

The sudden surge in cases of the second covid 19 wave put many into battles with their fears and thoughts. People of all ages were locked inside of their homes amidst the rising cases and overall distressing ambiance. Among all these multitudes are the elderly who are one of the most impacted by the raging second covid-19 wave.

About 5.7% of the total senior citizen population of India lives alone, i.e. all by themselves according to a study conducted by LASI. It is this crowd that is suffering the most from the pandemic. These elderly are really in dire straits as they are the most susceptible to the virus and on the flip side, they do need to make arrangements for their well-being. Most of them mostly rely on their neighbors or relatives for essentials. But all this said, the elderly are subjected to copious anxiety all along. The fear of being exposed to the virus during simple transactions and deliveries increases their anxiety by manifolds. The constant input of negative aspects of a news, ample time at hand, and increasing nearby cases have left the elderly to suffer from anxiety and depression.

The increase in covid cases has not only made it tougher for septuagenarians to manage day-to-day lives but has also ensured to bar the elderly from stepping out. This resulted in minimal to almost no social interaction of the people from the outside world. Many of them who relied on their evening walks or a trip to the local grocery stores for the amount of social life they had are now deprived of that too. This not only made them more impatient than ever for the pandemic to end but also shot up the feeling of loneliness and depression along with the rising anxiety they felt. According to a study conducted in a community-dwelling, one-quarter of the older adults were found to be socially isolated and 43% were reported feeling alone.

Nonetheless, the battle of the elderly with loneliness and depression is at an all-time high. Social isolation due to the second wave has been associated with around 50% increased risk of developing dementia, a 29% increased risk of incident coronary heart disease, and a 32% more risk of stroke. All in all, these are hard times for everyone but things are a bit more challenging for the elderly. At this moment we must ensure that the older community doesn’t feel alone or depressed. Reaching out to the seniors we can help and providing extra care is what’s needed during this raging second wave of the pandemic.

Source:  https://ghrp.biomedcentral.com

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