Page 27 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
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Senior Times - February 2021 Page 27
 COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on feelings of loneliness (lack of com- panionship and isolation) and social connec- tions among older adults. Clearly, the increases in loneliness and infrequent social contact may be at least partially explained by the public health strategies intended to keep aging adults safe, such as the stay-at-home orders, physical distance recommendations, and even wearing masks. However important they are, the results cannot be dismissed.
 It is imperative to recognize the pandem- ic’s impacts on the overall well-being of older adults and identify opportunities to mitigate them. Consequently, even during these chal- lenging times, increased efforts should be made to identify older adults at higher risk of feeling lonely, isolated, or socially disconnected from others and work more diligently to seek out and provide assistance to those who need it. CareWell Services SW has received a grant
to do just that. If you know of someone that could benefit from additional support reach
out to them at (269) 966-2450. Surrounding areas should reach out to their Area Agency on Aging to discover other programs available.
aging adult can continue to age safely at home for the future.
remembering names of family and friends? Have they forgotten recent events? Do they seem confused or overwhelmed?
Signs to look for that might indicate an aging adult is being impacted by loneliness:
In addition to these signs, it’s important
to be aware of other signs that more help is needed at home – like piles of laundry or dishes, unpaid bills, and missed medication. Unfortunately, if you have not been inside their home you will have difficulty assessing this.
 The need to connect is at our core. Providing safe opportunities for regular and meaningful interaction with others and with nature is important to reduce loneliness and maintain social connections. Current mea- sures included, the vaccine is one more step in that direction as well.
As we work to see the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical for policy- makers, clinicians, care providers, and family members to address feelings of loneliness among older adults to alleviate their effects on mental and physical health. It is just as import- ant to learn more about what social isolation
is, so they may be equipped to recognize the symptoms in order to seek help if needed. Together, we can increase the likelihood that an
Lack of Communication. Have they lost interest in socializing, either virtually or in per- son? Do they repeat themselves or struggle to find the right words? Do they forget what they are saying mid-sentence?
Varying Moods. Have you noticed any recent changes in their attitude? Do they seem easily flustered or unusually sad? Are they leaving voicemails or sending text messages that seem out of the ordinary?
Acknowledging these signs may be difficult for both family members and older adults, but accepting that an aging loved one may need additional help early on will increase the likeli- hood they can continue to age safely and com- fortably at home for years to come.
 Changes in Appearance. Do their clothes seem rumpled or unwashed? Is their hair unkempt? Have they gained or lost a noticeable amount of weight?
Publisher’s note: The University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging was completed online by a national sample of U.S. adults age 50–80 about lack of companionship and isolation (loneliness), social interactions, and health behaviors in June 2020 and com- pared to a similar poll conducted in 2018. Published September 2020, http://hdl.handle. net/2027.42/162549.
Difficulty Concentrating. Do they seem disengaged or restless? Are they having dif- ficulty keeping up with conversation? Do they appear to have trouble hearing or ask for details to be repeated?
Memory Loss. Are they having difficulty
   GET SIGNED UP FOR YOUR COVID-19 VACCINATION
 Seniors age 65+ Please call
269-441-0912
tobeputona waiting list.
 calhouncountymi.gov/covidvaccine facebook.com/CCPublicHealthDepartment
Calhoun County Public Health Department has begun vaccinating our 65+ residents of Calhoun County. Vaccination clinics are being scheduled throughout Calhoun County. Residents can call 269-441-0912 to be put on a waitlist. All vaccinations are by appointment ONLY. We are asking residents to be patient as supply is very limited. We are scheduling clinics as vaccine becomes available.
Stay informed!
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2990 Business One Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Phone: 269.762.6110 • Toll Free: 877.406.4055 • Fax: 269.762.6109 Email: info@rahhelps.com • website: www.rahhelps.com
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Phone: 517.768.0900 • Toll Free: 877.768.0901 • Fax: 517.768.0909
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