New research has suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many senior people to begin to open up about their mental health
They may be the generation known for upholding the ‘stiff-upper-lip’, but new research from Amica has suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has prompted many seniors to begin to have conversations about their mental health.
In their survey of more than 1,400 American and Canadian seniors, Amica discovered that 85% are now talking about their mental health more than they did prior to the pandemic. But while it is encouraging to see that many now feel comfortable talking about what they are going through, the report also found that 38% felt less connected to their loved ones in the past year.
Considering the findings of the study, Nicole Arzt, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Family Enthusiasts said:
“We know the physical risks of COVID in seniors, but we can't disregard the mental health risks associated with lockdowns, social distancing, wearing masks, etc. Loneliness is already a significant issue affecting older people, and this pandemic is exacerbating that feeling for many people. It's hard to not be able to see your children or grandchildren.”
“We need to keep talking about the impact of mental health and providing support to this population. This doesn't downplay the risk of COVID. Instead, we need to keep in mind that parallel issues like depression, anxiety, increased substance use, poor eating habits, etc. can have their own short-term and long-term consequences.”
It’s a theme that we have seen throughout all generations: the mental health impact of physical isolation and illness. That said, the survey also found that 42% of respondents had taken up social media, 31% say streaming services are helping their mental health – and of those who have video called their loved ones, 54% said it helped them to feel more connected.
As we hurtle towards the festive season, many of us will be taking the time to reflect on how our lives have been impacted by the events of 2020, as well as reflecting fondly on the memories we have of time spent with those we love. Nurturing a sense of connection while isolated from our friends and family is hard, very hard. But whether you do it with the help of technology, or by putting pen to paper, never underestimate the power of reaching out to those around you – it’s so often the first step to feeling better.
If you need support with your mental health, find a counsellor in your area of offering online services through Counselling Directory.