The Women's Journal

Physical, Mental & Emotional Effects Of Covid on the Elderly

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By Kristin Stetler Donovan, Owner, Age Advantage of Newark 

By now, most everyone I know is tired of worrying about, or thinking about, or stressing about Covid. To put this article in a frame of reference, I drafted this article as I spent time at the beach with my family. During a family meal we talked about how different the previous two years at the beach were. In August 2020 we were fortunate enough to have time away together, but also endure a hurricane on the bay, resulting in no power and we feared going out around people, as we might contract Covid. We felt “trapped”. We went nowhere, we stayed secluded inside. My kids feared going anywhere or touching anything. Who feels trapped at the beach?

Now, the focus of this article isn’t about me, it’s about YOU and all of those that are elderly that WE love. Covid made EVERYONE feel trapped and fearful. Just because it is three years later, we forget how battle torn our senior population is as a result. So many individuals experienced isolation, depression, and fear, thinking that loved ones had abandoned them, when in fact, distance was kept to try and protect seniors, parents, grandparents and loved ones from serious illness or death. 

When I think of how I have been affected physically, mentally, and emotionally during the last several years, my heart breaks for our senior population. I had a front row seat unfortunately. I saw so many family members devastated that they had to stay away from their loved ones. In return, their elderly loved ones, that they were restricted from seeing, struggled with significant depression and feelings of abandonment. 

All of this made me realize the importance of communication and of human contact. We ALL need it and honestly cannot live without it.

I realize how fortunate I am that I could be with my family and spend time away with them at the beach. I truly acknowledge how lucky I was to have had that time with my loved ones. Sadly, many seniors were not as lucky as I was to have a change of venue or access to family. 

Seniors lacked support, assistance, touch and even simple hugs and often, any form of in person communication. What we forget is that we are all still suffering from the ramifications of Covid. However, seniors are STILL suffering, they are finding it harder to rebound from Covid protocols and the toll that isolation took on them. Many experienced cognitive decline that cannot be reversed. The purpose for writing this article is to explain why non-medical senior care is such a benefit. The world seems to have reopened and gone back to some sense of “normalcy” (I use the term loosely): everything has opened or is continuing to open up. As wives, husbands, daughters, sons etc. the hustle bustle has resumed. Unfortunately, with life’s demand of work, school, and other activities, we just do not always have the time to dedicate to our elder family members. They have been starved for the last few years for social interaction. It is important to know that there is support for you and your loved ones.

Personally, I never knew that senior care agencies existed or what they did. I found out way too late. My mother passed five days after I learned of the support they give to families. We really could have used support during the years my parents had struggled with their “Activities of Daily Living.” I nearly killed myself trying to support them. 

It is crucial to understand that everyone is still reeling from the effects of Covid. There is no shame in needing additional support from an outside provider and asking for help. If your elderly loved one can benefit from assistance bathing, dressing, eating, with household chores or simply experiencing a sense of companionship or social interaction, Age Advantage is available to discuss any needs your loved ones may have. We are here to help and support you. Please call our office (302)722-8240 if you feel that we can be of service or visit