Resources for Older AdultsThe COVID-19 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., ageism)
- Participation in meaningful activities
- Meaningful Relationships
- Physical Health
What can I do?
- Maintain 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 safe way.
- 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.
Helpful Links and Resources:
- GeroCentral: COVID-19 Older Adult and Family Resources - Includes information on how to use mobile devices for social connection, emergency preparedness, activities, and more.
- Webinar- Mental Health America: Older Adults and Isolation During COVID-19
- Older Adults and Disasters: How Caregivers Can Be Prepared and Assist Others
- Older Adults and Disasters: How to Be Prepared and Assist Others
- RxOpen.org (to locate open pharmacies after a disaster)
- Personal Preparedness for Older Adults & Their Caregivers
- COVID-19 Guidance for Older Adults
- COVID-19 Checklist: Older Persons
- CDC COVID-19, Stress and Coping, People at higher risk
- TimeSlips-Creative-Storytelling - a Facebook group that has resources for engagement during social distancing for older adults.
COVID Guidance for Older Adults
(from the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics Asia/Oceania)
- Sweet Readers CONNECT (a remote access program that brings youth ambassadors with adults in need together using technology)
Promoting Psychological Health and Suicide Prevention among Older Adults during COVID-19
Increased Access to Mental Health Care for Older Adults: Getting Support during COVID-19