Top Health Concerns For Seniors
There are many challenges imposed by COVID-19. One of these is the fear of visiting hospitals. COVID-19 has filled people’s minds with distress and fear of the unknown. For senior citizens, regular health follow-ups during lockdowns were delayed particularly for those who are diabetic or suffer from coronary heart disease. Many seniors also could not reach out to their physicians either due to their unavailability or inaccessibility to hospitals.
Top health concerns
During these challenging times of the pandemic, health concerns are broadly segregated into predisposed conditions, precipitated conditions, aggravated conditions and those which are regressed and remitted.
Predisposed health concerns
At the physical level: Those staying indoors and experiencing a lack of sunlight are predisposed and prone to reduced bone density especially in the case of women in menopause and physically dependant seniors. With the restriction on their movements, they become osteoporotic and their susceptibility to weaker bones is increased, thereby leading to fractures even with minor falls.
At the emotional level: Those who were predisposed to anxiety and phobias.
At the mental level: People are predisposed to impulsive decisions due to a clouding of the thought process.
Precipitated health concerns
At the physical level: Due to lack of physical activity, there is precipitated overweight, obesity, muscular imbalance and consequent myalgias and postural imbalance due to the weakness of disused muscles and deep vein thrombosis.
At the emotional level: The fear of getting infected leads to increased proactive but unresearched precautionary measures, which in turn results in paranoia, anxiety neurosis and obsessive compulsive neurosis.
At the mental level: Too much of information consumption leads to mental exhaustion resulting in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Aggravated health concerns
At the physical level: Lack of physical activity and imbalance in nutrition brought about uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol levels resulting in fatty liver and gall stones.
At the emotional level: Subclinical depression showed up as a manic phase of depression due to fear of loneliness and isolation.
At the mental level: Indecisiveness and lack of focus and concentration led to uncontrolled thoughts resulting in insomnia.
Regressions and remissions in health concerns
At the physical level: Due to inadequate follow-up for certain neurological conditions with movement disorders led to regressions in conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
At the emotional level: Bipolar disorders showed up with remissions and an increase in suicidal tendencies.
At the mental level: Disinterest and disinclination to stay connected with the world led to accelerated ageing, impairment of cognition and comprehension of thoughts.
COVID-19 has thrown light onto many spheres of human life. Secure and adequate finances was not enough to overcome COVID-19. One could not get oxygen supply or access to hospital beds despite having enough money.
The most important learning was to be sensitive to one’s own health at all levels. We can all maintain our life reserves through a healthy lifestyle at the physical, emotional and mental level.
This is an achievable task in the newer outlook of living together with like-minded people as a community. So, we must change our perception and outlook about senior retirement communities and understand the difference between senior living communities and old age homes. The latter is a haven of positive ageing where physical distance did not mean social distancing and all neighbours and friends bonded together to fight the invisible enemy.