As countries are affected by Covid 19, the attempt to shield older people and protect the over burdened health system in the UK, with enforced social isolation to mitigate the spread of the virus, has resulted in the need for increased mental health support.
Self isolation has disproportionately affected our older generation who are not just victims but also health workers, carers and many essential service providers.
Physical distancing can take its toll on our mental health. Living alone and being less digitally included than others, loneliness and seclusion; the risks are higher for older persons, whose social contact are predominantly friends and family and community based activities.
Although all age groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, older persons are at a significantly higher risk of mortality and severe disease following infection, with those over 80 years old dying at five times the average rate. An estimated 66% of people aged 70 and over have at least one underlying condition, placing them at increased risk of severe impact from COVID-19 (https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/Global_risk_factors.html)
It is vital that we strengthen social inclusion and solidarity during physical distancing. Restrictions on freedom of movement and physical distancing can lead to a disruption of essential care and support for older persons. “Physical distancing” is crucial but needs to be accompanied by social support measures and targeted care for older persons, including by increasing their access to digital technologies.
It's Mental and Age UK are collaborating a series of weekly Podcasts “Be Calm and Carry on”. Each week offers a different theme and guests offering advice and tips for the over 50’s whilst in isolation. Episodes 1, 2 ,3 is available now on Spotify or go to www.ageuklancs.co.uk
In addition Its Mental is offering free Mental Wellbeing coaching via live webinars for 1 hour each week for 4 weeks including a weekly journal to help manage mental wellbeing. Please go through the following link below to register for your free place. link.https://www.itsmental.co.uk/pl/154998
The Mental Health Foundation has published advice for older people to assist in supporting mental health at this time. Mental Health Advice Older People During Coronavirus Outbreak