Social Isolation in An Epidemic: Reconciling the Needs of Older Adults with the Exigencies of Social Distancing

The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to many parts of the world instituting policies intended to limit the spread of the virus. This has led to many people being isolated in their residences, and to the strict limitation of visitors to congregate living facilities and hospitals. Older adults are known to suffer from isolation even in normal times, and they are also frequently hospitalized, sometimes as they near the end of life. This has created a situation in which mental and physical health problems may be neglected or amplified by the disruptions created by social distancing, stay-at-home policies, and strict restrictions on visitors to places elders often live (such as nursing homes). This article examines policies and behaviors in a recent epidemic (2009 H1N1 influenza), the ethical considerations that arise when epidemiological measures to limit disease spread conflict with the holistic needs of older persons isolated during a pandemic, and offers suggestions on research that would address those needs as we face future pandemics.

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Work Title Social Isolation in An Epidemic: Reconciling the Needs of Older Adults with the Exigencies of Social Distancing
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. ROBERT ERIC DOERFLER
Keyword
  1. Mental Health
  2. COVID-19
  3. Isolation
  4. Pandemic
  5. Coronavirus
  6. Elders
License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Work Type Article
Language
  1. English
DOI doi:10.26207/kqbb-db45
Deposited August 18, 2020

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