• NAMI Flagstaff

How COVID-19 Affects the Mental Health of Seniors

This article was researched, published and provided to us by Southern California Sunrise Mental Health. This article is also available at: https://socalsunrisemh.com/how-covid-19-affects-the-mental-health-of-seniors/


COVID-19 has affected everyone in a lot of different ways. If you are in the 65 and up age group it has probably limited your social interaction even more than others. These extra precautions the elderly have to take have affected their mental health and feelings of loneliness more than usual.


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the senior community. Also known as Coronavirus, the virus has created medical risks and mortality rates that are exceptionally high in the older adult population. In addition to medical complications, the pandemic has also led to behavioral health challenges for older individuals.


Fortunately, doctors and psychologists can utilize methods to help older individuals disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s socially isolating effects. Additionally, seniors can take steps to mitigate impacts on their mental health, including the use of available technology.


Effects of COVID-19 on the Senior Population


COVID-19 is especially dangerous for the older population. If they contract the virus, they are extremely vulnerable to developing a severe illness, making it increasingly important for them to practice social distancing and take other safety precautions. Social distancing among the older adult population means that they may need to limit their interactions with caregivers and loved ones. This lack of connection can lead to feelings of loneliness and anxiety, as well as uncertainty and fear related to the pandemic.


Recently, COVID-19 cases have again been on the rise, which may make it difficult for older adults to maintain hope. They may feel stuck in social isolation, unable to see an end to the isolating measures. These safety guidelines that have been put in place to protect those at risk have created new dangers for older adults, as they are more lonely and inactive than usual.


Pandemic or not, seniors are more likely than others to experience social isolation, financial challenges, illness, grief, and loss. These risk factors create more significant anxiety and depression rates, increasing mortality and other undesirable outcomes when older adults have underlying medical conditions.


Coronavirus has created an environment in which these mental health issues are likely to increase for seniors, especially those with pre-existing psychiatric illnesses. Social distancing can increase anxiety, depression, fear, isolation, and loneliness. Additionally, the lack of physical connection to friends and family can also create mental health issues as this support is often an essential aspect of successful aging.


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