SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Isolation is becoming a bigger danger to the elderly than coronavirus, geriatric medicine specialists have warned, as many are afraid to go back to their old activities despite being fully vaccinated.
Loneliness, malnutrition, dehydration and broken bones because of falls are all on the the rise, specialists say, because many elderly still won’t leave their homes, even when the rate of infection was low some weeks ago.
‘We are seeing people who are showing the first signs of dementia who are rapidly declining and who have to go into a home,’ Arend Arends, chairman of the Dutch association of geriatricians NVKG told the AD.
‘Elderly people who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to fall and break something. I understand their fears, but isolation is becoming a bigger danger to their health than coronavirus.
It really is safe to go out and do things.’ While social distancing is still an important factor, and large-scale events are best avoided, the elderly should not get too used to an empty social calendar, geriatric specialist Karen Keijsers said.
‘Now we see more serious illness among the elderly because they have stopped doing their daily round of activities, or because they feel they have nothing left to live for,’ she told the paper.