A global pandemic forced the entire human civilization to stay indoors and follow the rules of lockdown in order to ensure physical health. But over a year into this scenario, it has massively taken its toll on people’s mental health too.
Reports state that isolation has resulted in Alzheimer’s for many people especially older citizens.
Pandemic Forces Care Centers’ Senior Residents To Isolate
The elderly in nursing homes suffer the hardest with their children and other family members prevented from visiting to ensure covid safety.
In 2020, Michigan reported a huge rise in the number of Alzheimer’s death cases.
Gene Schoendorf, a senior citizen in Michigan’s Ovid Health Center was an Alzheimer’s patient for years. He finally surrendered to death last year after being infected by covid.
94-year-old Schoendorf had lost most of his memories and was unable to perform even his basic tasks. But his memories didn’t fail him from recognizing and interacting with his two daughters Sarah Maynard and Stacy Doubrava.
But the sudden pandemic took away his only source of happiness.
In March, the state ordered care centers to restrict any entry of visitors as part of the coronavirus measures.
The residents weren’t also allowed to interact with each other and were confined to their own rooms.
The only source of communication was through zoom calls or meeting outside of windows.
But Scoendorf who was already suffering from dementia couldn’t understand the new routines and began to be frustrated at being unable to see his daughters.
Slowly his Alzheimers further developed completely stripping him off his memory to recognize his children or anyone.
Maynard and Doubrava stated that the lack of physical presence had massively impacted their father and they were completely helpless.
Research stays that older individuals when confined to long periods of isolation can not only impact their memories but also affect their physical health.
University of Michigan Gerontologist Sheria Robinson Lane stated that a person’s emotional health is directly connected to their physical functioning and therefore can easily impact the overall health leading to depression and death.
Schoenberg’s 92-year-old wife Mary Jane was also moved to the Ovid Healthcare center during the pandemic after along period of hospitalization.
They were confined to rooms of two different floors as part of the covid safety measures.
By December, the couple was diagnosed with the virus but with mild symptoms.
Towards the days before Christmas, the care center alerted Schoendorf’s daughters that he was critical and may not survive. Stacy and Sarah were then allowed to visit him for a few minutes.
A few hours later, his family met with the news of his death.
The virus itself has caused so many deaths worldwide. But the worst impact is the isolation of the elderly at nursing homes. It is truly brutal as to how a single virus can separate families in every way.
Stacy who is also a retired nurse hopes to volunteer at Ovid Healthcare to at least have the opportunity to take care of her mother.
The family is now praying for the pandemic to ease as soon as possible and a faster vaccination process.