The impact of COVID-19 on the life of the elderly

elderly 2020

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Nathalia Sbardellini Sidou Ponte, medical student of the third period, from UNICEPLAC- Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Aparecido dos Santos, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In “The Pest”, Albert Camus portrays how human beings relate to extreme and unusual situations in a pandemic. With the spread of the ‘‘New Pest’’ (Covid-19) reports came out in the book – ‘’no one can leave or enter the city. The population, apart from facing the spread of the disease, also needs to face the isolation from the world’’. In the midst of the pandemic we face, social isolation is one of the vital resources to not only reduce the rate of spread of the new coronavirus in our society but to protect the elderly population, which is in the group considered to be at greatest risk. While we wait for researchers to develop a vaccine capable of immunizing us against the Sars-CoV-2 virus, staying at home and maintaining social distance has become our biggest protective barrier. Regarding this problem, the elderly stand out as a group at greater risk, not only physical but mental, related to increased stress and loneliness, by depriving them of the right to come and go. Thus, support from the family is essential for the protection and promotion of the health of seniors.

Along this path, during the epidemic, mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, fear and stress tend to make the elderly population more susceptible to possible infections. And since the vast majority of the elderly people in Brazil have some comorbidity like diabetes, hypertension and asthma, physical health is more impaired without proper medical care, affected by isolation. Taken together, all of these biopsychosocial problems refer to the relevance of medical and psychological interventions in line with emerging needs in the current pandemic context. Thus, it is addressed in the ABRASCO article “Supporting the weight of Covid-19: elderly people in low and middle income countries” that in these countries 69% of the population is 60 years old or more and health systems are more fragile favoring the Covid-19 to have a greater impact. So that, on March 31, 2020, Ordinance No. 639 of the Ministry of Health was published, which provides for the strategic action ’’ Brazil counts on me’’ training health professionals (doctors and psychologists) to face the pandemic and in a virtual way to help psychologically and physically, the most vulnerable.

Given the above, the biopsychosocial issue of the elderly, during the pandemic, becomes evident as a public health problem. Consequently, it is the government’s responsibility to conduct protocol training in managing stress, trauma, depression and risky behavior, as well as ensuring resources for clinical and mental health care for the elderly, making them easy to access. Moreover, it is vitally important that family members are available to provide emotional support to the elderly with video calls and telephone calls, besides helping them with everyday tasks (for example, grocery shopping). According to that, the effects of social isolation on the lives of the elderly would be mitigated, providing them with greater physical and mental quality. 

References

FELIPE ORNELL JAQUELINE BOHER SCHURCH ANNE ORGLER SORDI FELIX HENRIQUE PAIM KESSLER (Brazil) (Ed.). Pandemic fear and COVID-19: impact on mental health and possible strategy. Porto Alegre, 2020. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Felix_Kessler2/publication/340442412_Pandemia_de_medo_e_COVID-19_impacto_na_saude_mental_e_possiveis_estrategias/links/5e893140299bf130797c84-de-emia-and- -mental-e-possible-estrategias.pdf>. Accessed on: 20 apr. 2020.

BEATRIZ SCHMIDT MARIA APARECIDA CREPALDI SIMONE DILL AZEREDO BOLZE LUCAS NEIVA-SILVA LAURO MIRANDA DEMENECH (Brazil) (Ed.). Impacts on Mental Health and Psychological Interventions Facing the New Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). Campinas, 2020. Available at: <https://preprints.scielo.org/index.php/scielo/preprint/view/58/69&gt;. Accessed on: 20 apr. 2020.

PETER LLOYD-SHERLOCK LEON GEFFEN SHAH EBRAHIM MARTIN MCKEE (Brazil) (Ed.). Bearing the weight of Covid-19: elderly people in low and middle income countries. Rio de Janeiro, 2020. Available at: <https://www.abrasco.org.br/site/outras-noticias/opiniao/artigo-suportando-o-peso-da-covid-19-idosos-em-paises- of-low-and-average-income / 45740 />. Accessed on: 20 apr. 2020.

About the author

Nathalia Sbardellini Sidou Ponte, medical student of the third period, from UNICEPLAC- Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Aparecido dos Santos, a regular participant in IFMSA UNICEPLAC projects and academic leagues in General Surgery and Plastic Surgery. Dedicated to medicine, medical books and academic congresses. She is regularly in social projects in churches, public schools and hospitals to fulfill Primary Care and disease prevention in order to learn in practice everything that is portrayed in her studies and classroom.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse

Eurozone retail sales fall shows recession

Member States and Commission to work together to boost artificial intelligence “made in Europe”

The 28 EU leaders don’t touch the thorny issues

Future Forces Forum: Prague will be hosting the most important project in the field of Defence and Security

This start-up has developed a way for businesses to quickly compost food waste

EU seems to fail its moderate migration promises postponing them for end 2015

Globalization is changing. Here’s how your business can adapt

11 innovations protecting life below water – and above it

6 ways to future-proof universities

In 2019, ‘reasons for hope’ in a world still on ‘red alert’: UN chief Guterres

How to make your business thrive by doing good

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

It will take a lot more than free menstrual pads to end period poverty

Rule of law: MEPs travel to Malta to meet with government, NGOs and journalists

Does research make sense any more? The dire need for new ways to measure success

In Rome you can swap plastic bottles for metro tickets

Latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) briefing from the World Health Organisation – key takeaways

Why good cybersecurity in business is everyone’s responsibility

Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

Supply chains have been upended. Here’s how to make them more resilient

One Day in Beijing

European Youth Forum celebrates 20 years of fighting for youth rights

Few countries are pricing carbon high enough to meet climate targets

How to save the world’s forests with carbon credits

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

Reject passivity and embrace ‘responsibility for our future,’ Lithuania’s President tells UN Assembly

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

The European Union and the United States reach an agreement on imports of hormone-free beef

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

Coronavirus: Commission holds first meeting of EU COVID-19 national scientific advice platform

The European Parliament floating over the South China Sea

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

European Border and Coast Guard: Council adopts revised regulation

UN urges ‘restraint’ in Bangladesh’s post-presidential election violence

10 reasons why today’s cyber leaders are tomorrow’s world leaders

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

Around 23 million boys have married before reaching 15; ‘we can end this violation’ says UNICEF chief

Humanitarian aid: EU allocates €54.5 million to Africa’s Great Lakes region

Ending use of chemical weapons in Syria: ‘still work to be done’, says UN disarmament chief

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

These are India’s cleanest cities

COVID-19 vaccine campaigns: how far are the anti-vaccine movements going online? How can pro-vaxxers be part of their change?

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Health challenges need predictable healthcare investment policies. Japan’s example shows why

These airports are now opening their doors to non-fliers

3 pressing urban problems Indian cities must solve in the post-COVID recovery

Electronic cigarettes: is it really a safe alternative to smoking?

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

Cape Town almost ran out of water. Here’s how it averted the crisis

The world’s supercomputers joined forces against COVID-19 – why such collaborations are critical for tackling future emergencies

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s