COVID-19 Mental Health Impact - NGO study finds impact of COVID-19 on elderly people; this is what it suggests
At present, India is fighting against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, the Union Health Ministry has reported that as many as 3,43,144 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country over the last 24 hours.
COVID-19 India News Update Today: At present, India is fighting against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, the Union Health Ministry has reported that as many as 3,43,144 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country over the last 24 hours. A study now suggests that this disease is leaving longer lasting effects on the physical and mental health of older persons.
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Agewell Foundation, an NGO working for the welfare and empowerment of older persons across the country, compiled a data during its interaction with more than 5,000 old people over the last one month. According to the data, the major issues faced by the old people include health anxiety, sleeplessness, panic attacks, depression, irritation, unceasing stress, nightmares, feeling of emptiness, fear of contracting Coronavirus, loss of appetite, anxiety related to the uncertain future.
In view of the current surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and an added burden on the healthcare system, older people are afraid of the COVID-19 consequences during the course of disease. The study suggests that there was a worry among them about getting a bed and proper treatment in hospital if they or any of their family members ever contract the disease.
Reportedly, 82.4 per cent older people have been complaining of health anxiety due to rising COVID-19 cases and casualties around them during the past month, this data suggests. Meanwhile, 70.2 per cent elderly were found to be suffering with sleeplessness or insomnia or nightmares due to poor quality of sleep. It has also been found that due to loneliness and social isolation, 63 per cent of the elderly people have developed symptoms of depression.
In this regard, Himanshu Rath, Founder, Agewell Foundation said, "During the past month of second wave of Pandemic, there was overall rise of 50% in the number of older people seeking counselling / help for psychological issues like depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, fear, stress, sense of loneliness / isolation etc." He also noted that despite having access to resources, most older persons, have been finding themselves helpless and vulnerable due to fast spreading COVID-19 infection. It has devastated their peace of mind and life and they are in need of urgent help in the form of counselling, useful tips and information, health care as well as emotional support.
The study further points out to a trend where mental stress is rising among the older people. Due to the pandemic, older people are being treated as a cornerstone by their own family members and they are not allowed to interact with their grandchildren, the study says. Also, no visitors are being welcomed in the house and their involvement in the daily household chores have been minimalised.
The study recommends that one should spend some time with the elderly family members as well as the elderly living alone in the neighbourhood to assure them that there are people to respect them and love and care for them.
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