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The Post-COVID Era May Present Special Challenges for Seniors

The Post-COVID Era May Present Special Challenges for Seniors

After the COVID-19 epidemic, the first glimpses of life are beginning to emerge.

The number of new COVID-19 cases and the number of hospitalizations and fatalities are all on the decrease.

Mask requirements are being phased out in a variety of settings, including companies, entertainment venues, and, in certain situations, school classrooms.

Some individuals are unsure what to do in terms of mask-wearing, attending indoor activities, and meeting old acquaintances again as a result of the news.

It is especially important to consider the emotional well-being of persons 65 years and older since they are at a higher risk of having serious disease on a more frequent basis.

A large number of people have spent the previous two years at home and are still concerned about the possible repercussions of the coronavirus since they know someone who has been hospitalized or died as a result of the condition.

Psychologist Dr. Michael G. Wetter, PsyD, FAPA, a diplomat and member of the American Psychotherapy Association, said in an interview with Dailion that transitioning into a post-pandemic lifestyle will take time to adjust to.

In Wetter’s opinion, “if individuals feel more comfortable wearing masks even when they are not required to do so, they should feel free to do so until they feel comfortable without wearing one.”

An article published recently by Kaiser Health News described the worry, despair, and other feelings experienced by older persons over the course of the previous two years.

They are now faced with the option of whether to continue to play it safe or to throw caution to the wind and attempt to enjoy the remaining years of their lives.

According to Bonnie Olsen, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, “many older folks dug down and utilized a lifetime of coping mechanisms to get through this,” she said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. “Now, as individuals deal with the present upsurge, it’s as if their emotional supplies are being emptied,” says the author.

According to her, Olsen advises younger individuals to be on the lookout for signals that older folks are withdrawing or closing down emotionally.

“When individuals begin to avoid communicating with one another, I get more concerned,” she said.

The range of emotions

Despite the fact that fear is a primary motivator, many older persons have experienced a broad spectrum of emotions.

They may have been filled with rage because the pandemic lasted so long, disappointed because they missed important events such as a grandchild’s birthday, loneliness as a result of social isolation, or sadness as a result of the time they lost that they will never get back.

In the words of Carol, 63, who had just returned from a vacation to California with her mother to see family: “It feels like two years have been shaved out of our life and everything has been put on wait.”

“My mother is 91 years old now, and her mobility has deteriorated,” Carol explained to Dailion. “Everyone she knows has returned from lockdown in a more depleted state. “There is no point in holding out.”

Many people are eager to go out again as long as they bear in mind “the new normal.”

Joyce, 69, is a retired professor who is now working on a series of Medieval mystery novels. She is striving for a sense of balance.

Although she would want to come out and enjoy herself, she is not prepared to incur a significant chance of contracting COVID, according to Dailion. “Perhaps it’s because I’m OK with isolation as long as I get some respite from it every now and then.”

Writers spend much of their time alone, and I am no exception. When I was working, I yearned for some peace and quiet. Too much isolation has become an epidemic, and I’d want to achieve a better balance between alone time and socializing with others. But once the weather warms up again and the Omicron surge comes to an end, I believe I will be able to strike that equilibrium,” Joyce added.

A former visual resources librarian who is now a photographer and writer, Alice, 85, plans to maintain her prudence in the future.

“I’ll continue to meet up with vaccinated pals outside, weather allowing,” she said in an interview with Dailion. The idea of going to the cinema or other indoor activities where there will be a large number of unmasked individuals does not appeal to me. It’s only when the shops aren’t packed that I go food shopping.”

“Last summer, I did something that was hazardous for me,” she said. “I went to a high school reunion in Maryland with a small group of people who had all had vaccinations. “We had our meeting room, and outside of that space, I wore my mask, despite the fact that no one else in the vicinity did so,” said the group.


Looking ahead

When it comes to partaking in any activity, the new normal may entail considering the risk involved beforehand – comparing the advantages of social connection against the possibility of getting COVID-19.

Arlene, a 64-year-old career transition services manager, is contemplating a fresh start now that the threat of a pandemic appears to be receding.

“It’s vital to me to be educated and aware of trends with the virus,” she said in an interview with Dailion. I believe that mixing and socializing will be a continuous endeavor after the two-year halt caused by the epidemic, with periods of respite in between. I’m hopeful, but I’m also cautious. “I don’t want to have to deal with the symptoms of the virus, but the prospect of starting a new chapter is exhilarating.”

She also appreciates the need to exercise prudence since she visits her mother, who is 87, regularly.

Some specialists feel that COVID-19 is on the verge of transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic status.

The flu is believed to be an endemic disease. This signifies that it is constantly present in a group or region, but it is not always present at a high concentration. We’ve figured out how to deal with being sick with the flu.

COVID-19 is still considered a pandemic for the time being since cases have not yet settled into predictable patterns. However, we do have instruments at our disposal that may assist us in managing — immunizations and antiviral drugs, for example.

In the event of a significant epidemic, experts advise returning to physical separation, masks, and being tested as soon as a person exhibits symptoms.

Raj, a 73-year-old scientist working in a research laboratory, no longer wears a mask for this reason.

In an interview with Dailion, he said, “I wore a mask for two years.” “I only wear it if I’m in an area where I’m in high danger,” said the wearer. If I do get it, it will certainly be a minor case, and there are drugs available to alleviate the symptoms. I am cautious but not too concerned. “I’m also not prepared to give up activities that I find enjoyable any longer.”

In this period, it is necessary to build confidence between the parties. “Belief in the safety of acts, behaviors, and medical treatments,” Wetter said. The ideal way, in my opinion, is for individuals to begin introducing socializing cautiously, at a rate that they are comfortable with.

Rather than traveling to a busy site such as a theme park or performance venue, he suggests that people start by visiting a neighborhood restaurant or even going to the movies.

According to Wetter, you may take efforts such as therapy for anxiety conditions to help yourself.

“Consider simple, pleasurable things that may be done more often,” Wetter said. “It’s sometimes beneficial to keep in mind that getting used to pandemic life takes some getting used to. It will take some time for your mind and body to adjust to life after the pandemic, but with patience and determination, your mind and body will remember and adapt.”

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