Starting the New Year off with more motivation and positivity will ensure 2021 is a good year! This past year has brought with it events that many have never seen or imagined they would ever have to live through, especially our elders. Not only did the year bring us the pandemic, it also brought earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, bushfires, economic recessions, lockdowns, countless deaths, mass protests, and so much more.
The pandemic has changed daily routines for our elders, the care and support they once received, their ability to stay socially connected, and how they were once perceived, went through a huge change. Older people have been forced to stay indoors albeit for their own protection, the lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, temporary cessation of employment, and the anxiety, fear, and loneliness caused grave effects on their mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic uprooted assumptions on which societies functioned and profoundly changed daily life. Because the disease disproportionately affected people older than 65 years, the pandemic generated a sense of vulnerability in many older people who were previously enjoying a newfound sense of healthy aging. Ever since the lockdown was enforced across the world, and especially in India, the first to get affected by it, were our elders. Many of them lost the means to earn a living, especially those from the unorganized sector, which resulted in them being unable to feed and support themselves.
The lockdown caused so many elderly to become isolated from their loved ones. The increase in the spread of the coronavirus, and its ability to affect elders severely, caused younger adults to isolate their elders or not visit them, in order to protect them from getting infected. We should ask ourselves – especially young adults who have developed mental health problems during this time, by having to stay indoors 24×7, how must the same situation affect our elders, who are become completely isolated from the outside world?
With the advancement in science and technology, scientists have been able to develop a vaccination for the dreadful Coronavirus. This brings a sense of hope for everyone. The pandemic set back so many people’s lives by years. Lockdowns and working from home forced us to step out of our comfort zones and re-look at how we live and function as human beings. Now that scientists have begun the process of administering the vaccine to help protect us against Covid-19, there is some hope for the future, where all of us can imagine a world ‘Pre-Covid’ and not have to completely give in to the ‘new-normal’ way of living our lives. The vaccine will hopefully help our elders who have been identified as a priority group to receive it and help return some semblance into their lives and ours.
This New Year with the new vaccine, we look forward to a brighter and more positive future and greet each other soon, without masks and readily available hugs.
Written By: Ishanti Ghose
Senior Executive – HelpAge India