Perpetually Isolated Seniors

I was reading an article about the effects of pandemic isolation on seniors, when this part jumped out at me:

After the pandemic hit, some seniors felt a dramatic worsening of loneliness and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, after which things perhaps stabilized a bit as the pandemic progressed. Others — probably those who were already very isolated, Perissinotto notes — weren’t very affected, likely because the pandemic didn’t change much about their level of social contact.

The seniors who “weren’t very affected,” because they were already very isolated before the pandemic – yes, the pandemic may not have affected them as much, because you can’t make a rock-bottom situation worse. The deep levels of loneliness, anxiety, or depression predate the social distancing measures.

Living alone, sometimes with only a T.V. to listen to, day in and day out, is a way of life for many people. A tiny number may relish it (you’d have to ask them), but the vast majority of people would never choose such unrelenting isolation.

A bunch of articles came out early in the pandemic (like this one) about the need to reach out to isolated older adults. I hope more people realize that this is a long-standing problem, and it continues now.

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