If you’re an older adult, there’s a good chance that social isolation is getting to you in a big way.
Distancing and quarantine have damaged the mental and physical health of seniors, according to the New York Times. Reduced physical activity and decreased interaction with others that came with social distancing took a significant toll, resulting in decreases in mobility and conditioning.
No large-scale studies have been conducted yet on how public health measures have impacted seniors.
However, some physicians and researchers say the situation is clear. In an interview with Kaiser Health News, Dr. Jonathan Bean, a geriatric rehabilitation expert, attributed the decline in function to decreased activity and remarked that it was an obvious problem to any clinician who cares for older adults. Another geriatrician, Dr. Lauren Jan Gleason, reported seeing weight changes and more depression among her patients.
Another compounding factor: Delayed access to regular preventative care, according to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging. Around 30 percent of adults age 50 and older had to delay or cancel appointments for checkups, dental appointments and procedures, tests and operations.
What can older adults do to reclaim lost ground? Get moving again, said University of Michigan researcher Geoffrey Hoffman in an interview with the New York Times. Going for a walk or trying some gentle stretches are great options, or something as simple as getting groceries or doing a few more household chores. Physical therapy may also be appropriate.