Mental Health and Social Isolation

Social isolation in the age of COVID-19 has become the norm not the rarity in fact it has become the life saving measure. But there is still a cost. And shouldn’t we at least consider that cost. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity. There is a proven affect of isolation on the elderly.

According to an NIH study social isolation can lead to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions including high blood preassure, heart disease, obesity a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.

That being the case how can we maneuver around social distancing to care for those we love. I’ve seen people having chats through windows using cell phones to talk. I’ve seen nursing homes organize loved ones parades where cars where decorated and families of residents drove around the home honking their horns while residents looked on from windows. It’s all about doing what you can to show that you haven’t forgotten them.

I myself have made the commitment to call my parents twice a day just to check in and see how things are going. I’ve made the commitment to call my daughter once a day just to check in and see how things are going. Giving both opportunities to talk to someone else someone different give them some encouragement.

I’d like to encourage others today. I’d like to ask you to do something for yourself, to treat yourself to a conversation with someone who could use a phone call, and a conversation. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and ask how their day is or maybe just tell them how your day is going.  De-isolate someone today.

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