eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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abstract:
State of the art paper

“Celebrating old age”: an obsolete expression during the COVID-19 pandemic? Medical, social, psychological, and religious consequences of home isolation and loneliness among the elderly

Alexandru Burlacu
1, 2
,
Ionut Mavrichi
3
,
Radu Crisan-Dabija
2, 4
,
Daniel Jugrin
5
,
Smaranda Buju
6
,
Bogdan Artene
1
,
Adrian Covic
2, 7, 8

1.
Department of Interventional Cardiology - Cardiovascular Diseases Institute, Iasi, Romania
2.
’Grigore T. Popa’ University of Medicine, Iasi, Romania
3.
Sociology Department, Faculty of Theology, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
4.
Pulmonology Department, Clinic of Pulmonary Diseases, Iasi, Romania
5.
Center for Studies and Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
6.
Department of Teacher Training, ‘Gh. Asachi’ Technical University, Iasi, Romania
7.
Nephrology Clinic, Dialysis, and Renal Transplant Center - ‘C.I. Parhon’ Hospital, Iasi, Romania
8.
Academy of Romanian Scientists (AOSR)
Arch Med Sci
Online publish date: 2020/06/08
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Since epidemiological arguments favouring self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic are widely recommended, the consequences of social isolation/loneliness of older people considered to be at higher risk for severe illness are neglected. We identified and described medical, social, psychological, and religious issues, indirectly generated by the COVID-19 lockdown. Mortality induced by SARS-CoV-2 and death from other “neglected” issues were put in balance. Arguments for strict lockdown from most European countries are compared with a relaxed approach, as has been applied in Sweden. Social isolation affects disproportionally the elderly, transforming it into a public health concern. One witnesses openly ageist discourse, while painful decisions to prioritising ventilation for younger patients deepens the sense of hopelessness. Fear has led to anxiety disorders and depression. Various religious practices provide resources for coping with isolation/overcoming loneliness. Higher levels of mortality/morbidity due to “COVID-19 versus non-COVID-19” polarisation oblige the healthcare community to find ways to provide proper care for its elders.
keywords:

COVID-19, older people, geriatric patients, loneliness, social isolation

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