Isolation Kills

During this restrictive time of Covid-19, many of us are struggling with the rigors of isolation. Our kids have missed out on the joyous celebrations of college and high school graduation years. Family celebrations of weddings have been cancelled or curtailed. Travel, vacations and family reuntions have been cancelled. Some of us have become depressed; many are stressed; and we’re all frustrated by the length of time we’ve been following these seemingly endless guidelines. We function inside a bubble of those we know and trust to follow the same levels of restriction that we follow.

But what about our sick and aging populations who are hospitalized or housed in rehab centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and the like? At first we were furious at the speed with which the infection spread, and we were happy to help by staying away. Now we’ve heard that our loves ones, already limited by disabilities, are isolated even further by being restricted to their rooms. If they still know how to use their phones, computers, and tablets, they can maintain some level of interaction with family and friends and we are beyond grateful for that!

Then there are those who cannot speak for themselves. Our loved ones– who are so dear to us, whose care we’re so concerned for, that we have them living in a facility which can provide the round-the-clock care we can’t–have now been removed from us for 8 months. Sometimes visits are allowed once our loved one is terminal. Sometimes we only get the call to come and collect their belongings.

What’s the point of this rant? Isolation kills. Humans are a social species. According to the CDC, loneliness and isolation in the over-50 population significantly increases a person’s likelihood of death from all causes. It contributes to a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, and 32% increased risk of stroke.

Tonight, please join me in attending a discussion about Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times. These times include our current situation as well as the simple actions to include the family as a contributor to the care team. This is a free, 1-hour virtual seminar given by People for Patient Safety. Use this link to register for free: www.PPSCares.org

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