While we are finally working our way toward the end of the pandemic, we’re finding out more about how it has harmed older adults – both physically and emotionally. We realize seniors have been at a greater risk of serious complications and death from the COVID-19 virus, and the impact of 15 months of physical distancing and social isolation has been just as devastating.
Dr. Jonathan Bean of the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at 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, participate in conversations, and engage in other activities of everyday life independently pre-pandemic, her cognitive and self-care abilities have declined rapidly.
Physical therapist Linda Teodosio confirms, explaining, “Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren’t even talking about yet.” She is noticing a considerable uptick both in falls and chronic disease exacerbation – very likely because of poor lifestyle choices attributable to the pandemic, such as unhealthy ways of eating and reduced exercise that can limit seniors’ strength post-pandemic.
As a result, more and more seniors require physical therapy as well as other rehabilitative services. A number of health plans are handling the problem by following up with seniors to confirm their wellbeing and to help connect them to the services they require to increase their strength post-pandemic. Interestingly, as much as 20% of a senior’s muscle mass can be lost by simply not walking for up to five days, according to physical therapist Sabaa Mundia.
Before leaping into a brand new exercise routine, however, it is critical that seniors first schedule a consultation with a physician for a full exam and recommendations on safe, ability-appropriate exercise. Then, do something to help the seniors in your life follow a healthy lifestyle that includes a good amount of physical activity.
Through respite care in Newport Beach and surrounding areas, CareWorks Health Services can provide your family with respite care exercise routines to help the seniors in your life stay as engaged and physically active as possible to keep strong post-pandemic. Our home caregivers are always readily available to give motivation and encouragement to help seniors make physical exercise a regular part of each day and maintain their strength. We are also able to provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes, the fitness center, the pool – wherever and whenever a senior wishes to go. Sometimes, even just daily walks with one of our friendly caregivers can make a world of difference in how seniors feel!
Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 for a complimentary in-home consultation for more information on how exactly we can assist.