Compulsory estrangement causes feelings of anguish and uncertainty with Senior 2020 Quarantined Cloth Face Mask. This poses a great challenge for the most vulnerable, our elders. “The plague is not tailored to humanity, therefore it is said that the plague is unreal, it is a bad dream that has to pass,” Albert Camus wrote in the book, The Plague. Although set in the twentieth century, the work is inspired by the cholera epidemic suffered by the city of Oran (Algeria) in 1849. But the plague today, is real and universal: COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic, and we need to remain quarantined. We have to take care of ourselves. But how to care for older adults?
People over the age of 60, especially those over 80, are the vulnerable strip that is part of the risk group, along with pregnant women, patients with respiratory and immunocompromised diseases, diabetics and people with heart disease. According to the WHO report, getting the infection is more likely to develop a serious illness from weakening the immune system.
The latest Vital Statistics Report, published by the Directorate of Statistics and Information (DEIS) of the Ministry of Health, reported that 31,916 people died in 2018 from pneumonia and influenza (viral diseases with less contagion capacity than COVID-19), of which 13,246 were over 85, indicating 41.05% of deaths and representing the second leading cause of death within the age range.
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Recent INDEC projections show that more than 6 million people in our country are people over 65 (15.54%), 43% male and 57% female. Raquel Castro, director of UNNOBA’s Senior Health Education and Promotion Program, argues that mandatory estrangement causes feelings of distress and uncertainty beyond the age of age, but particularly pose a great challenge for the elderly.
Fear of the unknown, lack of information in the face of a new disease, isolation and disconnection with others can unleash some stress, “and this generates feelings of helplessness and sadness. Communication with affections is therefore indispensable,” suggests Raquel Castro, who holds a degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Gerontological Services Management.
In this line, the official and teacher of Evolutionary Psychology in the career of Nursing emphasizes the importance of maintaining dialogue with people of trust, who can share their emotions and concerns. “It’s key to dosing the information that is received constantly and overwhelmingly, and avoiding overexposure to the news,” he adds.
For older adults with previous pathologies, such as dementia or cognitive impairment, they may develop an aggravation of symptoms, become more irritable, anxious and withdrawn. That’s why the PEPSAM Director advises providing them with simple and clear information. “If necessary, it’s always helpful to turn to mental health professionals,” he says.
Fear associated with disease and death is a feeling that passes through all people. In this sense, it is important to know that the elders have strengths and resources at the psychic level. “It is very important that they can rely on their previous life experiences, the have been through complex and difficult situations, which they have been able to cope and overcome,” Castro suggests, adding that fear of contagion and death, in many cases, is more tied to the fear that something will happen to their relatives than to themselves.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center (which provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends that characterize the United States and the world) conducted in more than 130 countries, indicates that 16% of adults aged 60 and older live alone, and 3% live in geriatrics. The director of PEPSAM argues that the older adult who lives alone is paramount to offer help, as he often does not ask for it. In addition to requiring and extreme prevention, hygiene and disinfection measures in geriatric residences.
“There is one thing that is always desired and sometimes obtained: human tenderness”, is another of the phrases in the book The Plague. And in the face of a global emergency scenario, both solidarity and selfishness show their rawer, and primary faces. Raquel Castro argues that it is essential for the elderly to approach support networks, both formal and informal through specific programs for the purchase of medicines, food or to request emotional retenment. “In other cases it is the family and/or neighbors who can provide the necessary assistance,” he adds.
The Government of the city of Buenos Aires launched the program “Greater care”, aimed at providing telephone assistance, making purchases in pharmacies and shops of proximity and the walk of their pets, during preventive and mandatory isolation. A first registration recorded more than 1000 older adults and 25,000 volunteers. “It is important to convey to our elders that being isolated does not mean being “alone,” as is this situation transient,” he argues.
Going through this time as an opportunity can help you think about it from a different perspective. Raquel Castro assures that it is highly recommended to stay active and perform tasks and activities that arouse interest, read, watch movies and practice board games. “It is very important to establish a flexible routine of physical activity, according to the possibilities of the person and the space in which they are, as well as a good diet. They can walk, move their arms, do yoga exercises, dance. Small movements they can put into practice,” he adds.
WHO reports show that the world’s population is aging at an accelerated pace. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the inhabitants of the planet over the age of 60 will double, from 11% to 22%. This group will go from 605 million to 2 billion. And demographic disruption will be more accelerated in low-middle-income countries.
Within the framework of preventive and compulsory social isolation, UNNOBA, through its Programme (PEPSAM), aims to accompany older adults throughout the community, providing them with a series of participation and interaction activities with the aim that they can be connected and active in their home. “From the different areas of the Program (Health, Socio-Cultural, Artistic and Technological), the different educational and recreational proposals will arise, which will be vehiculized through different social networks and media,” says Raquel Castro, who is also pro-secretary of Extension. “The only way to fight plague is honesty,” says Dr. Rieux, a character from The Plague, “What is honesty? I don’t know what it is in general. But in my case I know what it’s like to do my job.” Ours is to stay home, wear Senior 2020 Quarantined Cloth Face Mask and take care of the older adults.