It’s no secret that the last few years have been tumultuous. We’ve all been through some difficult times, and this series of disruptions have affected every aspect of our lives. This is especially true for those of us who are moving into our senior years. Seniors have faced a distinct set of challenges and concerns both during the pandemic and in its wake. So as we move into 2022, what new issues are we facing? Here’s a brief breakdown of some health concerns facing seniors in 2022, and some ideas as to how to deal with them
The primary health care challenge facing seniors in 2022 is an extension of a broader problem: going back to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic and the series of lockdowns we all experienced, many of us became less physically active. This is especially true for seniors, who were at special risk from the coronavirus. Getting back to normal will mean getting active again, but this poses a challenge for older folks who fell behind on physical activity over the last few years. For individual seniors, this will mean a conversation with their doctor about getting physically active and some healthy and safe ways to do so. Senior communities will need to think outside the box and find ways to get up and get moving collectively. In both cases, health and safety concerns should take the fore, with exercise programs tailored to individual needs.
Physical inactivity, both for seniors and for people of all ages, was often the result of isolation during the pandemic. We all did our duty and stayed home, limiting contact with others to help control the spread of the disease. While this was the right thing to do and did in fact save lives, it hampered social interaction and community life. This has left many seniors feeling isolated, lonely, and without community or friendship. Getting folks reconnected and back out into the world is a major concern in 2022. Isolation leads to physical inactivity, mental stagnation, loneliness, and a resulting myriad of health problems. Combating these issues will involve helping seniors learn to socialize again, and providing them with safe and appropriate ways to do so.
While the pandemic may be waning, an ongoing health concern for seniors is still with us in the form of flu season. The flu is a real and recurring issue every year and is of particular concern to seniors. Older folks are more susceptible to flu during flu season, and their immune systems are often less able to cope with the disease. Individual seniors should speak to their health care providers about getting a flu shot and about other steps they might take to help prevent illness. Senior communities should be aware of the risk of flu and take the steps outlined by the CDC and other authorities to keep their people safe.
This article is meant to inform, not frighten. Seniors can and should lead active lives, participate in their communities and neighborhoods, and in general enjoy every day to its fullest. By being aware of the health concerns facing seniors in 2022, we can help find the best ways for them to stay safe while doing so.