Social isolation for older adults can impact mental health
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing has impacted everyone’s mental health and well-being. For older adults, who have to take extra precautions because of the potential risks to their health, physical distancing can be especially difficult. Specifically, being physically cut off from friends and family can cause loneliness and lead to social isolation, which can impact mental health.
Jenae Pedersen, a fourth-year nursing student at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, has created a video to help families and communities support older adults deal with these issues.
“Witnessing clients miss their family and friends broke my heart,” says Jenae Pedersen, who’s finishing her nursing rotation in Burns Lake.
The focus of the video is to educate families and communities on the impact loneliness and social isolation have on our health, and to show evidence-informed approaches people can take to help improve the quality of life of older adults dealing with these issues.
“It’s also important to recognize those older adults, who before COVID-19 had no friends or family visiting, who were dealing with loneliness and social isolation” says Jenae. “As a community we must adapt and educate ourselves to work towards meeting the needs of older adults.”
Her own family’s experience and her passion for taking care of older adults inspired this video project. Her hope is that this video will help improve not only the lives of older adults, but also those of their families and friends.