COVID-19 and Social Isolation Endangering Psychological Health of Older Adults: Implications for Telepsychiatry
1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences,College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
DOI: 10.22514/sv.2020.16.0070 Vol.16,Issue 2,October 2020 pp.14-19
Published: 28 October 2020
Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) has created a public health emergency and had claimed 911,877 lives at the time of writing this manuscript (September 12, 2020). While everybody is at the risk of acquiring infection following the exposure to SARS-CoV-2, older adults are significantly more likely to experience severe illness, life-threatening complications, hospitalizations, and deaths. As the pandemic evolved, social distancing or shielding efforts as primary prevention were instituted to protect the physical health status of the vulnerable population, with no or limited consideration to the psychological health of the older population. Social isolation and loneliness are the long-standing public health concerns among older adults, which appear to be exacerbating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the pre-existing risk of late-life psychiatric disorders among older individuals, it is critical to determine challenges posed by COVID-19 and associated social distancing protocols as it relates to the psychosocial well-being of the aging population. Such information is imperative to design targeted interventions to fulfill the unmet needs of the older population. Therefore, this review endeavors to identify the healthcare and emotional needs of the aging population during the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of psychological health and social capital. Additionally, this review also identifies the barriers in the uptake of telepsychiatry and highlights the need for promoting remote counseling services among older people to promote their psychosocial well-being.
Social isolation, Loneliness, Older adults, Psychological health, COVID-19, Telepsy-chiatry
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