July 26, 2021 by
While we are gradually easing our way out of this pandemic, we are figuring out more information on how it has impacted older adults – both physically and emotionally. We realize older adults have been at a greater risk of serious issues and death from the COVID-19 virus; however, the impact of 15 months of physical distancing and social isolation is now revealing shocking results on senior strength post-pandemic.
Dr. Jonathan Bean of the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center in the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System has observed a “significant decline in functioning” in both his senior patients along with his own mother. While she had been able to walk using the assistance of a walker, participate in conversations, and engage in other activities of everyday life independently before the pandemic, her self-care and cognitive abilities have declined quickly.
Physical therapy Linda Teodosio confirms, explaining, “Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren’t even talking about yet.” She is seeing a substantial increase both in chronic disease exacerbation and falls – likely based on poor lifestyle choices brought on by the pandemic, particularly unhealthy ways of eating and reduced exercise.
As a result, more and more seniors may require physical therapy and other rehabilitative services. A number of health plans are handling the matter by following up with seniors to confirm their wellbeing and also to help connect them to the services they require to increase their strength. Interestingly, up to 20% of an older adult’s muscle tissue can be lost by simply not walking for up to five days, according to physical therapist Sabaa Mundia.
Before leaping into a brand new exercise program, however, it is important that seniors first schedule an appointment with a medical professional for a complete exam and tips about safe, ability-appropriate physical activity. Then do something to help the seniors in your life to stick with a more healthy lifestyle that features plenty of exercise.
Let At Home Independent Living, providing in-home respite care in Syracuse, NY and surrounding areas, help the seniors in your life stay as engaged and physically active as possible to increase senior strength post-pandemic. Our professional caregivers are always readily available to deliver the encouragement and motivation to help older adults make physical activity a routine element of each day. We can also provide transportation and accompaniment to exercise classes, the gym, the pool – wherever and whenever an older adult wants to go. Sometimes, just adding in an everyday walk with one of our friendly care providers can make a world of difference in how older adults feel!