July 26, 2021
While we are finally working our way towards the end of this pandemic, we’re discovering more on the post-pandemic hidden health crisis for older people – affecting them both physically and emotionally. We all know seniors have been at a higher danger of serious complications and death from the COVID-19 virus, however the impact of 15 months of physical distancing and social isolation is just as devastating.
Dr. Jonathan Bean of the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center in the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System has noted a “significant decline in functioning” in both his senior patients and his own mother. Whereas she had been able to walk using the assistance of a walker, take part in conversations, and take part in other activities of day to day life independently before the pandemic, her self-care and cognitive abilities have diminished rapidly.
Physical therapy expert Linda Teodosio confirms, explaining, “Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren’t even talking about yet.” She is observing a significant uptick both in falls and chronic disease exacerbation – probably based on poor lifestyle choices due to the pandemic, for example unhealthy ways of eating and less exercise.
As an end result, increasingly more older adults are in need of physical therapy as well as other rehabilitative services. Several health plans are responding to the matter by following up with seniors to confirm their wellbeing and to help connect them to the services they require to regain their strength. Interestingly, up to 20% of a senior’s muscle mass can be lost simply by not walking for as few as five days, according to physical therapist Sabaa Mundia.
Before jumping into a brand new exercise routine however, it’s critical that seniors first schedule an appointment with the medical practitioner for a full exam and recommendations on safe, ability-appropriate physical activity. Then do something to help the seniors in your life to follow a healthier lifestyle that includes plenty of physical activity.
Call on Continuum to assist senior loved ones in regaining strength. Our caregivers are always readily available to deliver the encouragement and motivation to help aging parents make physical exercise a routine part of every day. We can also provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes, the gym, the pool – wherever and whenever a senior would like to go. Sometimes, just adding in a daily walk with one of our friendly care providers can make a world of difference in how older adults feel!
We provide St. Louis and St. Charles home health care to seniors in need. Give us a call at 636-861-3336 or 314-863-9912 for a free in-home consultation for more information on how exactly we can help.