Social isolation during COVID-19 can cause serious health issues for senior citizens

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can cause serious health issues for senior citizens. Poor social relationships were associated with a 29% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and a 32% rise in the risk of stroke according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“We are all having some social isolation but with seniors, it’s compounded,” says Karen Rue with Griswold Home Care of Acadiana. 43% of adults age 60 or older in the U.S. reported feeling lonely even before COVID-19 hit according to AARP.

The most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus is the elderly. Eight out of 10 deaths reported in the US have been in adult 65 years and older according to the CDC. “Now with isolation they are less mobile and are getting weaker. And with hearing issues they can’t always participate with phone calls very effectively or any of those other items so it really is a huge issue,” says Rue.

Some seniors are tech-savvy, but for the ones who aren’t even FaceTime and Zoom can’t help during these lonely times. Nursing facilities are working to keep families connected even at a distance. Like the parade held at Evangeline Oaks of Carencro. The Carencro Fire and Police Departments along with resident’s family members got to say hello and we love you from a safe distance.

“If residents can get outside, sit outside on the porch and speak to neighbors. They have to make sure that they are continuing to get some exercise even if it’s just walking up and down their driveway or exercising at home. Eating healthy and continuing their medications is important. Start doing some self-entertainment like word games, card games, or whatever they can do to stay cognitively challenged. Especially reaching out to other people to talk because the social isolation can really get to be an issue and makes the days to be very long,” says Rue.

The Louisiana Department of Health has established a hotline to help residents cope through this national pandemic. The Keep Calm Through COVID Hotline is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. All calls are confidential and it’s important to note this it line is for counseling only. That number is 866-310-7977.

For seniors in  the Lafayette and Opelousas areas , Giles Automotive team members are providing essential errand runs through April 30th. Call (337) 210-9015

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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