Social isolation: The COVID-19 pandemic's hidden health risk for older adults, and how to manage it
As coronavirus cases rise again, it can be hard for older adults to see any end to the need for social isolation and the loneliness that can come with it. For months now, they have been following public health advice to reduce their risk of exposure by staying home, knowing an infection can have life-threatening complications. But sheltering at home has also meant staying distant from family, friends and the places that kept them active and engaged. Inadvertently, the COVID-19 safety guidelines to self-isolate have created new health risks by leaving many older adults even more socially isolated and inactive than before. As co-directors of the Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging, we have been examining social connectedness in old age and the detrimental effects of social isolation and loneliness on physical and mental health. How social isolation can harm human health Without exercise, muscles can weaken, leaving older adults more prone to falling. What can older adults do?
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