Resources for Older Adults
pandemic, social distancing guidelines, and loss of our daily routine are
stressful for many of us, and the effects of the pandemic may be especially challenging
for older adults in our society. Older adults tend to experience more feelings
of social isolation and depression already, and the current shelter-in-place
orders may exacerbate these feelings.
What We Know
Increased age is associated with an
increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing life-threatening
complications, as well as increases in mental health concerns like depression.
- Older adults have been discouraged
from receiving visitors in their homes, and nursing and assisted living
facilities have ceased visitation to ensure resident safety.
- Even before the COVID-19 pandemic,
older adults were already more likely to experience social isolation and
loneliness due to factors such as a higher likelihood of living alone, death of
loved ones, trouble hearing, mobility or transportation issues, etc.
- Social isolation is the physical
separation from others, while loneliness is a subjective feeling of being
lonely. Both are linked with a number of adverse health outcomes including
heart disease, dementia, and overall mortality risk (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2017;
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2020).
- According to the Age Concern and the
Mental Health Foundation (2006) 5 factors that affect older adult mental health
and well-being are:
- Discrimination based on age (i.e.,
- Participation in meaningful
- Meaningful Relationships
- Physical Health
What can I do?
communication with friends and family via telephone, text message, or video
chat. Intergenerational connections in
which younger adults communicate and check in on older adults or grandparents
may be particularly helpful.
- Ask members of your family or friends in the community to pick up and deliver groceries or
medications for you, or simply make time to communicate in a socially distant and
- Sign up to participate in “Calling Community” a 5-week program which pairs college
students with senior citizens for 2 weekly phone calls via phone, sponsored by the WVU Extension Service (Family and
Community Development) and WVU Center for Service and Learning. If interested, see: Calling Community- Phone Conversation
Partners for Seniors Needed, call WVU Extension Service at 304-293-8690, or email Lauren.Prinzo@mail.wvu.edu.