There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has had – and is still having – a significant impact on our nation and the world, with elderly people among those who have been hit hardest. In fact, from the day a global pandemic was announced, it was made clear that the risks associated with catching coronavirus increased from the age of 50, with people over 85 the most likely to get very sick. As with everything, though, we can look back, taking away any lessons learnt and how we can make any necessary changes moving forward? For us, the pandemic has shined a light on the need to get elderly people the right care.
Physical health deterioration
Staying in for an extended period of time during lockdown has unfortunately been reflected in the physical health of elderly people, with reduced mobility, muscle weakness, and joint pain becoming increasingly more common. And it wasn’t just those who had pre-existing conditions who have seen their health worsen. Many, who were previously pretty independent, saw their health deteriorate.
Reports showed that even the smallest of tasks like going up and down the stairs have become challenging for some, with many who were once confidently mobile now relying on walking aids. And of course, all of this sitting around will only lead to one thing, and that’s weight gain. A study carried out by Age UK revealed that one in four of the older people they spoke to were unable to walk as far as they had pre-pandemic.
The pandemic's impact on the physical health of our elderly community – even those who didn’t necessarily catch the disease but fell victim to the impact of lockdown – has highlighted the need to implement proper care in place. What’s more, we need to have these conversations with elderly loved ones early, even if they don’t feel they need extensive care yet. This way, they are more likely to get the support they need when they need it.
The impact of social distancing
While forced social distancing led to a lack of socialisation and fewer face-to-face catch-ups, it was also quickly established that loved ones can't solely rely on their family and friends for support anymore. The impact of the pandemic demonstrated the need for a correct care package to be in place, involving health professionals, instead of assuming and relying on family and close friends.
As well as elderly people benefiting from correct care being implemented, their loved ones are sure to see the advantages. After all, it’s emotionally challenging for someone to care for a loved one – especially if all of a sudden, they’re not allowed to visit them anymore due to a pandemic. Getting the correct care in place now, even if it’s support from our community team, will help relieve the pressures felt by carers.
Isolation, depression, and wellbeing
Of course, how could we forget the devastating impact coronavirus has had on our wellbeing – and elderly people are no exception. While older people with pre-existing mental health conditions saw an increase in their symptoms, the pandemic also triggered some people to suffer for the first time. From anxieties surrounding health conditions or re-entering normality again to low mood and depression as a result of not physically seeing anyone for months, Covid-19 really did take its toll on the mental health of the elderly.
Having the correct care plan in place could prevent this from happening in the future. For some, regular companionship via our community care team is all an older person needs to beat loneliness. Or how about your loved one moving into a nursing home? While the idea might be a little tricky to get your head around, this would mean that person could get the care and support they need, surrounded by a team of qualified health professionals.
Thinking about elderly care is never easy for anyone. But making sure the correct support is available, having those much-needed conversations as early as possible, and exploring your options, will make the process a lot less stressful. If you are considering a nursing home in Slough or would like to discuss home care options for an elderly person, then get in touch. Our friendly team will do our best to help you every step of the way.