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Social Isolation

AARP published an article on May 20th: “Is it ok to visit older family members at home now?".

According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, before the pandemic, an estimated 24 percent of adults 65 and older who live independently were already suffering from isolation and loneliness. Alicia Arbaja, an internist, geriatric specialist and researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is quoted as saying “We already had a crisis of loneliness; this pandemic has blown it wide open.”

Social isolation impacts mental wellbeing, but it has been associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and premature mortality.

My mom has been in lockdown for 8 ½ weeks. When I called her a couple of days ago, she said to me “When am I getting out of here?” They have had 7 cases of COVID in the last 2 weeks. I talked to the director of her assisted living home and told him that something had to be done because the short and long- term consequences of this lockdown will be severe if some action is not taken soon. He told me that he was talking to his sister assisted-living facilities to work out a plan to provide safe visits. It would involve outside visits, marked off at a certain distance. They would have to be scheduled and they would be supervised and timed. We would get a certain amount of time, maybe 20 minutes. I told him that we would take whatever, just so she could see our faces or even just our eyes above our masks!

There are a number of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren who live in the area and we will get them scheduled. This will do much to lift her spirits.

If my mom gets COVID, and I pray every day that she doesn’t, I want her to see her family and for her family to see her before they whisk her off to the hospital ER where no one is allowed in.

Another prayer I have is that hospitals will rethink allowing family members in to see their loved ones. Separation at this time of their lives is its own hell.

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