Saturday, April 20, 2024

'An epidemic of loneliness': How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Life for Older Adults; Pandemic Changed Older Adults' Fears, Social Lives, Data Finds, and other C-Virus related stories

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'An epidemic of loneliness': How the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for older adults:
Years after the U.S. began to slowly emerge from mandatory COVID-19 lockdowns, more than half of older adults still spend more time at home and less time socializing in public spaces than they did pre-pandemic, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research.
Participants cited fear of infection and "more uncomfortable and hostile" social dynamics as key reasons for their retreat from civic life.
"The pandemic is not over for a lot of folks. Some people feel left behind," said Jessica Finlay, an assistant professor of geography whose findings are revealed in a series of new papers.
The study comes amid what the U.S. Surgeon General recently called an "epidemic of loneliness" in which older adults—especially those who are immune compromised or have disabilities—are particularly vulnerable.
"We found that the pandemic fundamentally altered neighborhoods, communities and everyday routines among aging Americans and these changes have long-term consequences for their physical, mental, social and cognitive health," said Finlay.
'I just can't go back'
As a health geographer and environmental gerontologist, Finlay studies how social and built environments impact health as we age.
In March 2020 as restaurants, gyms, grocery stores and other gathering places shuttered amid shelter-in-place orders, she immediately wondered what the lasting impacts would be. Shortly thereafter, she launched the COVID-19 Coping Study with University of Michigan epidemiologist Lindsay Kobayashi. They began their research with a baseline and monthly survey. Since then, nearly 7,000 people over age 55 from all 50 states have participated. --->READ MORE HERE
Pandemic changed older adults' fears, social lives, data finds:
Researchers say the effects that the months and years of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns had on us can still be felt in society, particularly with the population of older adults in the U.S., new study data found.
Research from the University of Colorado Boulder found that today, more than half of older adults spend more time at home and less time out socializing in public compared to how they lived their lives before the pandemic began.
"We found that the pandemic fundamentally altered neighborhoods, communities and everyday routines among aging Americans," Jessica Finlay, an assistant professor of geography said.
Finlay and other researchers who worked on the study said older adults appear to be more fearful of infections and find that they're more uncomfortable in certain social environments.
Last year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy made his alarm known when he released a report on the "devastating impact of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in the United States." The notice, released just days before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced the official end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, 2023, said the crisis of loneliness in the United States had become a major matter of public health.
Dr. Murthy said, "Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight — one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives."
He added, "Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders. Together, we can build a country that’s healthier, more resilient, less lonely, and more connected." --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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