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Seniors Find It Hard to Avoid Social Interactions and Stay Home

Senior citizens are among the groups of people who are most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from being most at-risk to contract the virus, they are also severely affected by the quarantine and the social restrictions. 

In this Singapore News, we are covering the effects of the coronavirus lockdown on seniors.

Difficulty coping with the pandemic

Being the age group with the most number of communities that rely on non-virtual social interactions, it is hard for seniors to cope with the effects of restrictions of the pandemic. 

Lee Kok Leong who is a 75-year old retiree has been doing what he can to keep him and his fellow seniors safe from Covid-19, however, he has been exhausted from staring at the blank walls in his residence at Bedok, Singapore.

Mr. Lee, who is already fully vaccinated with Pfizer, stated that he went out daily for at least an hour or two. 

Prior to the pandemic, Mr. Lee would be out with his fellow seniors for at least half a day, he said, “I reduce my time outside, but if you are confined at home for the whole day, it is very stressful. My wife scolds me and tells me to cut down my time spent outside.”

He is aware that the virus has been difficult for those who are aged 60 and older although he isn’t sure about the exact numbers.

Mortality Rate

From September 27, a time when Singapore heightened its restrictions due to the new Covid-19 variants, and October 10, 83 individuals have already perished due to the severe complications of the virus. Of those 83 individuals, 79 of them are aged 60 and above.

Aside from the mortality rate, seniors have made up the majority of Covid-19 patients that are under intensive care in hospitals and health centers.

According to Mr. Edward Tang, who is the supervisor for Care Corner Seniors Services, said that senior citizens are aware that it is dangerous to be out due to the virus but they also know that staying at home will rob them of social interactions.

Mr. Tang said, “Many of their interactions take place in outdoor venues such as void decks, coffee shops, markets, and Senior Activity Centres”

“As it has become a core and integral part of their routine, asking them to change these habits within a fortnight requires them to make adjustments and seek alternative means of staying engaged with their social network,” he added.

Response from seniors

The Straits Times interviewed some of the seniors along with the areas of Chinatown, Beach Road, and Kampong Glam.

Most of them know the consequences of staying out too long in this pandemic. They limit their time away from their residences and said that they only go out when it is only essential.

Most of the seniors are not adept at digital technologies and most of them do not use social media applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram, that is why it is difficult for them to adapt to these times.

Current Status

According to the recent report of the Health Ministry of Singapore, there are at least 80,000 seniors that are still not vaccinated. The government has been doing any necessary measures to protect them.

During the press briefing on Oct 2 of the multi-ministry task force that is handling the coronavirus situation, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that it is important for seniors to limit their outside activity while still unvaccinated. This is also necessary for them to not infect their family and caregivers because of the social activities.

According to Tan Boon Kee, 76, his getting vaccinated is not just about his health but also about abiding by the rules to help his friends and family to be safe from the infection.