The onslaught of the 1st wave of the COVID pandemic brought on the nation to shut down in an work to guard its citizens. In an work to curb the deadly virus, a nationwide lockdown was implemented for around 3 months in 2020. Now, on the heels of the devastating second wave, we see an ebb, even though slight, in the quantity of new instances. The second wave has led to a strain on the heavily unprepared healthcare method and has offered rise to more fatalities. With the rise in the quantity of COVID-associated fatalities, older adults are experiencing more mental overall health challenges such as depression and overall health-associated anxiousness.
The First Wave
As element of an ongoing neighborhood engagement initiative with older adults, Samvedna had previously carried out a survey with adults aged (40 years and above) through the 1st wave of the pandemic to have an understanding of the influence of the lockdown, and the coping techniques they located helpful.
Respondents had been offered a mental overall health screener in which 66% self-reported at least 2 overall health issues that may well warrant additional evaluation. 86% of these men and women reported experiencing substantial low mood and 83% mentioned they located it tough to locate which means in their everyday activities and delight in themselves. 58% also reported feeling beneath continual strain due to the lockdown and 33% reported getting sleep issues.
Those who had been attempting to work from home reported feeling more strain than other individuals as they had been also concerned about economic issues and loss of revenue. Amongst other issues that majorly impacted older adults through lockdown had been issues about the overall health and well-being of family members (57%) and private overall health (28%). The strain of managing further household work without having sufficient assistance, and general difficulty in receiving fundamental necessities had been also challenges highlighted by more than one-third of respondents. 13% also reported an boost in family conflicts through the lockdown which impacted their sense of well-being.
Although 63% of respondents felt that speaking with buddies/family about their worries would be beneficial, only 22% talked about thinking about speaking with a mental overall health experienced. This highlights that the willingness of older adults to seek experienced mental overall health assistance for themselves was extremely low through the 1st wave of the pandemic.
The Second Wave
33% of respondents contacted once again through the second wave, reported feeling depressed. The main concern remained unchanged—the overall health and wellbeing of buddies and family. However, they highlighted enhanced fears about family members with comorbidities contracting the virus, and reported issues managing emotional wellbeing, and faced challenges in assisting younger family members handle their routines and adhere to fundamental COVID protocols.
A positive shift was noted more than the previous year with older adults speaking about the significance of mental overall health and well-being. A noticeable shift was observed with their speaking about the rewards of attending on-line mental wellness sessions and practicing yoga and or meditation.
Although as lately as a year ago, seniors had been not as tech-savvy, this shift indicates a increasing comfort with assistance by way of telehealth which is clearly the way forward and sheds light on a higher require for leveraging technologies to assistance the emotional wellbeing of older adults through the lockdown and COVID restrictions.
When asked about what will be beneficial through the lockdown, a gentleman, age 83, interviewed talked about, “If you have somebody who is there to check up on you, or contact you through WhatsApp and tell you that it’s ok, that will help older people a lot… Every individual needs some support group so that they are not in isolation. Just to keep an eye.”
Another, senior citizen, talked about, “One thing that needs to be done very strongly is that older adults have to be told to remain positive, that would greatly help, and not to worry too much. You have to maintain your positive outlook.”
Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Jayashree Dasgupta, Co-Founder and Project Director, Samvedna Senior Care says, ”Although awareness about mental overall health troubles remains low, it is heartening to see that older adults are becoming more open and speaking about the challenges they face. Tele mental overall health applications especially targeting older adults will play an significant part in destigmatising looking for assist for mental overall health troubles while supplying a lot necessary emotional assistance through this pandemic.”