Ways to Thwart Loneliness and Isolation for Elderly Family Members

Written by Raquel Nixon, Contributing Writer

4/20/21 

As vaccines are being distributed, many are wondering if it is finally safe to visit their family in longer-term care facilities. Because of the risks posed against those in elderly care facilities, visits and contact with family has been strictly regulated and controlled. Most aren’t able to see their family in person, and if they do it is from a distance or behind protective glass.

Such precautions are indeed necessary for the physical health and safety of those in a more dire age range. However, the mental wellbeing of these elders is something we must also keep in mind. Being separated from family for so long has created a great sense of loneliness that could be detrimental to both their mental and physical wellbeing.

According to an article written by Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “social isolation” was listed as a cause of death for “three Minnesotans” in their 90s. Those with memory issues such as Alzheimer’s or dementia are at an exceptional risk (1).  The state health commissioner, Jan Malcom, admits “The separation that has happened for residents of long-term care facilities and their loved ones is one of the most heartbreaking things about the epidemic” (1).

If you or a loved one has experienced separation from family, especially if they are elders in social isolation, try to reach out in any way you can. It could be a phone call or a window visit. Many people are missing their family right now. And just a quick connection could make a world of difference.

References

Magan, C. (2020, December 16). Isolated during the pandemic, seniors are dying of loneliness and their families are demanding help. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.twincities.com/2020/06/19/isolated-during-the-pandemic-seniors-are-dying-of-loneliness-and-their-families-are-demanding-help/

 

Published by Counseling With Leslie

Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LCMHC is a North Carolina and Virginia board-certified licensed professional counselor. She co-owns a successful practice in Carrboro, North Carolina. Leslie specializes in helping adults navigate stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Additionally, she is a life strategist, spiritual coach, and writer.

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