Loneliness and Isolation Become More Critical Issues Among Elderly During COVID-19 Pandemic

Foundation for Senior Care Seminar Tackles These Issues

FALLBROOK, July 21, 2020 – Loneliness and isolation among seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic are major contributors to several mental and physical health issues, an online webinar revealed today.

            Dr. Diane Darby Beach, a gerontologist specializing in dementia who is associated with Fallbrook’s Foundation for Senior Care, explained that it’s important for sheltered-in-place seniors and their care givers to identify and take steps to remedy physical and psychological risk factors that affect those with early stages of dementia.  She noted that seniors are a population that experiences many unintended consequences of social isolation, and among those 85 and older this is especially true, a group that has a high death rate from the coronavirus.

            She termed increases in dementia and its consequences are part of the “tsunami of health care problems that face the country” because of the rapid increase in the number of seniors in the population.

            According to Dr. Beach, “human beings are not meant to be alone and because of this isolated, seniors are particularly depression prone.  Often their self-esteem plummets when lonely.  Further, addiction, obesity and other life-style illnesses can be traced to prolonged periods of loneliness and isolation, and these are magnified during the pandemic when seniors tend to stay at home more so than other demographics in the community as they try to avoid exposure to those with coronavirus symptoms,” Dr. Beach told the more than 20 people online with her.

She noted that there are several types of intervention available to stay-at-home seniors and their care-givers, among them group services, community engagement and one-to-one contact programs.

“While we’re a long way away from a cure, one of our primary goals is to use efforts like these to slow the onset of dementia,” Dr. Beach added.

Dr. Robert Pace, president of the Foundation for Senior Care here, stated the organization has geared many of programs to meet these needs of seniors during the pandemic.  The successful grocery delivery service delivered over 1,200 packages of groceries from the Food Pantry and Major Market to local seniors.  That effort has tapered off lately as many seniors are becoming more comfortable shopping for groceries locally, but other of the Foundation’s transportation services are still in place.

He also reported that The Club, a public facility for dementia patients at the Foundation’s facilities on south Mission Rd. also re-opened recently after receiving state certification.  In addition to these and other standard offerings by the Foundation for Senior Care, Dr. Pace said the organization is about to launch a Senior Buddies program designed to link volunteers with seniors suffering from isolation.

Senior Buddies will be implemented in August.

Dr. Beach will offer a second webinar on Aging During COVID-19 on August 6 from 9:30 to 10:30 am. Register at FoundationForSeniorCare.org to receive the Zoom link for the online seminar.

The Foundation for Senior Care is a multi-provider of services for seniors and their families with headquarters at 1120 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook, CA  92028.  The locally operated non-profit organization has 15 board members, all of whom are prominent business and civic leaders in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area.

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