Caring for the elderly – The coronavirus scare and effects.

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Protecting the elderly from coronavirus

Celebrating our golden years peacefully requires us to be happy and emotionally in touch with ourselves and those around us. The coronavirus pandemic and the related anxiety add to the rising health concerns of the elderly in our society.

Underlying conditions that hinder the body’s ability to cope with and recover from illness, especially those affecting the respiratory systems, make the old people around us more susceptible to the virus.

The pandemic, which has claimed over 10,000 lives worldwide (as at 20th March 2020), affects the part of the lungs where gas exchange and the delivery of oxygen to the bloodstream and the removal of carbon dioxide take place. As we get older, our lungs become less elastic and are no longer as resilient as they were when we were young.

For those who take care of or have old people in their lives, here are some things we should beware of and/or should look out for during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure that they (the seniors) are living peacefully & happily, and are mentally healthy.

  • Anxiety caused by the scare of contracting the virus themselves, or their friends or children being directly affected by the virus, may trigger emotional effects such as high irritability, anger, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
  • Social isolation for the elderly with no physical contact with their loved one could be detrimental to their wellbeing and can negatively affect their emotional health leading to boredom, loneliness, sadness, and in severe cases, depression. Where possible, provide a means of communication for the seniors to reach their loved ones as this will help stabilize their emotions.
  • Remind them to regularly sanitize or wash their hand with soap and water.  As we get older, learning a new habit becomes hard. To install new routines into the minds of our seniors (such as the regular hand-washing which helps curb the spread of the coronavirus) will require us to relentlessly keep reminding them about it.

This article has been written by Hisia’s Psychologist, Shahela Sheikh, a trained counseling psychologist with a keen interest in helping children recover from childhood trauma. Shahela is an experienced family therapist.


To speak to Shahela or any other psychologist at Hisia about anxiety counseling, drug & substance abuse recovery, relationship counseling, family counseling, parenting counseling, children counseling, suicide prevention, grief support, and self-esteem therapy, kindly call +254 745 562 108 or fill in your contact details in the form below.

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