The Pandemic's Effects on Seniors

Alert1 Elderly Man Holding Head

The lock-down months of the pandemic are finally receding, but the mental health effects of the isolation that ensued are prevalent, including amongst the senior population. Senior citizens represent one of the largest groups of people in the world, and were some of those hit the hardest by Covid-19. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were more than 54 million seniors aged 65 years and older on July 1, 2019.1 This number continues to rise, and it is estimated that by 2060 seniors will represent nearly 100 million Americans.2 In fact, by 2034, adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.1

Adjusting to a “New Normal”

 For more than a year, older adults relied on phone and computer screens to connect them to the world. Some took virtual exercise classes, talked to their families over FaceTime and saw their friends through windows or from safe distances. Now that vaccinations are readily available, they can hug their grandchildren and neighbors without fear. While adults are beginning to live fuller lives again, that doesn’t mean their sense of safety has gone out the window.

Staying in-touch with family and friends is more important now than ever for seniors. After the isolated year everyone just had, new technology is focusing on seniors to help them combat the isolation and conduct everyday business. Senior citizens spend $140 billion on technology, and that number is only expected to grow.

The financial industry has started focusing on developing technology for senior citizens, especially after COVID. They are beginning to test smartphone apps to give older adults more personalized control over their money as well as allowing their children to help monitor accounts for fraud.

Alert1’s medical alert system technology helps senior citizens live empowered, independent lives. Especially in situations such as the enforced isolation of the pandemic, there can be peace of mind and assured confidence in knowing that help is always one button-push away.

Medical Care and Senior Health during the Pandemic

Many seniors have preexisting medical conditions and these conditions, especially heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and cancer, are more likely to cause severe side effects if covid-19 is contracted. At the same time, those who have preexisting conditions require routine medical care— even in the midst of a global pandemic.

During the pandemic, the CDC recommended that healthcare facilities try alternatives to face-to-face appointments, such as video consultations, to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to vulnerable populations. Medicare Advantage prioritized senior health and made changes to its plans, covering virtual doctor and telehealth appointments. Pharmacies amped up their delivery services, especially for senior citizens, to decrease physical contact. Doctor’s offices dedicated early morning appointments to their senior patients and were careful to limit the number of patients in their waiting rooms.

Protecting senior health was a priority during the pandemic and has always been the focus of companies like Alert1, whose goal is to help seniors live their best lives. An in-home medical alert system is one of many ways that seniors can ensure they are never alone throughout their healthcare journey.

Adapting to Isolation

Senior citizens are an at-risk group when it comes to COVID-19 and need to take extra precautions, as per the CDC. This vulnerability required the temporary adoption of an isolated lifestyle until the pandemic was brought under control.

During lock-down, older citizens coped with isolation better than expected.4 Psychologist Regina Koepp stated that older adults were resilient in the face of the pandemic. They found that staying in-touch with family, maintaining a routine and a healthy diet, staying physically fit, getting fresh air and trying out some new hobbies were all mechanisms employed by seniors to cope with this unusual time in our nation’s history.

Although seniors have exhibited resilience, loved ones should still be on the lookout for depression, anxiety, and even memory loss.7 Kathleen Rogers, a geriatric physician for the Cleveland Clinic, states that some seniors already deal with isolation, but it worsened during the pandemic. With the world opening back up, older adults may be seeing loved ones in person for the first time in over a year, which can provoke stress or anxiety.

Dr. Rogers recommends being aware of the following signs of depression and anxiety: 7

·         Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?

·         Is your house uncharacteristically messy?

·         Have you lost or gained an excess amount of weight?

·         Are you not sleeping well?

·         Are you not keeping up on hygiene?

·         Are you skipping or forgetting your medication?

·         Are you distancing yourself from friends or communities?

·         Are you missing bill payments?

Combatting Post-Pandemic Depression

As life increasingly returns to a sense of normalcy, senior citizens may still be cautious about participating in gatherings that have a large amount of people or with people outside of their households. If this is the case, make sure to continue communicating with loved ones via video chat to combat isolation.

If you are comfortable being in-person with family, and the weather permits it, try to plan a small outdoor gathering. With summer approaching, this will become easier and easier. For additional safety, you can ask everyone to wear masks, wash their hands and even provide hand sanitizer.

The structure and organization of a daily routine can help to establish a sense of calm and control. Activities give people a sense of purpose and belonging and it is no different for seniors. Activities that stimulates the brain, such as looking at a photo album or recipe book or even listening to classical music, help with memory.

Other actions to take to feel empowered and in control include:

·         Get vaccinated. Check out your hospital or pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

·         Wear your mask out in public.

·         Socially distance.

·         Encourage family and friends to get vaccinated.

·         Invest in a medical alert device

If you or your loved one are feeling alone, anxious, or stressed related to the isolation of the past year, Alert1’s suite of affordable, personal medical alarms ensures its members are always independent but never truly alone.

1 America Counts Staff. (2019, Dec. 10). 2020 Census Will Help Policymakers Prepare for the Incoming Wave of Aging Boomers. By 2030, All Baby Boomers Will Be Age 65 or Older (

2 Hoyt, Jeff. (2021). Statistics about Seniors. Statistics About Seniors -

3 CDC Editorial Staff. (2021, May 14). Older Adults. Older Adults and COVID-19 | CDC

4 Koepp, Regina. (2021, Jan. 21). How Is the Pandemic Affecting the Mental Health of Seniors? How Is the Pandemic Affecting the Mental Health of Seniors? | Psychology Today

5 Rand, Kyle. (2021). Why Post-Pandemic Innovations Must Focus On Seniors. Why Post-Pandemic Innovations Must Focus On Seniors (

6 Terrell, Kenneth. (2019, Dec. 19). Americans 50 and Older Would Be World’s Third-Largest Economy, AARP Study Finds. AARP Study: Americans 50 and Older are Growing Economic Powerhouse

7 Senior Health staff. (2020, Nov. 3). Pandemic Isolation Can Be Especially Hard on Older Adults. Pandemic Isolation Can Be Especially Hard on Older Adults – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

8 Rubin, Craig D., M.D. (2020, April 1). 6 ways to support seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 6 ways to support seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic | Aging | COVID | UT Southwestern Medical Center (