As we are gradually working our way towards the end of this pandemic, we are discovering more on how it has affected senior loved ones – both emotionally and physically. We realize older adults have been at a greater risk of serious issues and death from the COVID-19 virus, although impact of 15 months of social isolation and physical distancing is also 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 elderly patients and with his own mother. While she had been able to walk with the assistance of a walker, take part in conversations, and engage in other independently day to day life activities before the pandemic, her cognitive and self-care abilities had decreased rapidly.
Physical therapist Linda Teodosio concurs, explaining, “Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren’t even talking about yet.” She is observing a significant uptick in both chronic disease exacerbation and falls – highly likely due to poor lifestyle choices brought on by the pandemic, for example unhealthy food intake and less exercise.
As a result, more and more seniors could require physical therapy along with other rehabilitative services. Some health plans are responding to the problem by following up with seniors to confirm their wellbeing and also to help connect them to the services they need to build back their strength. Interestingly, as much as 20% of an older adult’s muscle tissue could be lost by simply not walking for as few as five days, according to physical therapist Sabaa Mundia.
Before leaping into a new senior exercise program, however, it is essential that they first schedule a consultation with the physician for a complete exam and tips about safe, ability-appropriate physical exercise. Family members can encourage their senior loved ones to follow a healthy lifestyle that features plenty of exercise.
Let Golden Harmony help the seniors in your life stay as physically active and engaged as possible to remain strong in this post post-pandemic climate. Our home care providers are always readily available to give the motivation and encouragement to help older adults make physical activity a routine part of every day. We can also provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes, the fitness center, the pool – wherever and whenever a senior would like to go. Sometimes, just adding in a regular walk with one of our friendly caregivers can make a world of difference in how older adults feel!
Call us at 919-426-7522 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about how we can help with care services in Raleigh and the nearby areas.