Being inclusive with our elders during Covid-19 resurgence
The impact of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is deeply affecting our elderly with an increase in anxiety and depression amongst the group, says a leading Pacific old age psychiatrist.
Dr Etuini Ma’u, a member of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) who is based at Waikato Hospital, says families need to take extra care to ensure that the Pacific elderly have the right support and reassurance during these uncertain times.
“The impact of lockdown is affecting the elderly deeply. There’s been an increase of anxiety and depression. The longer this drags out, the harder it will be for them.
It’s about maintaining that social connection and recognising that this is a very disruptive and uncertain time for your parents, for your elderly. Stay in contact, touch base with them regularly, offer them practical support, given the recommendation is that vulnerable people stay home. Make arrangements to ensure they have assistance around the home.”
He says it’s important that our elderly comprehend the messaging and advice given about the Covid-19 crisis, like the health and safety guidelines and an understanding of what the different Alert Levels mean and how it impacts them.
“Consider that this is a group who are already having difficulty understanding what’s going on and working out how it’s going to affect them. We can ensure they make sense of everything and explain the risks and how it affects them and others around them.”
“For the elderly to survive this pandemic, it’s important that their mental, physical and spiritual well being is maintained”, he says.
“It comes down to the basics. Keep a healthy diet and make sure they go outside to keep up with their physical exercise because anything that is good for the heart is good for the head.”
To access a Whānau Ora Family Support Package please click on the following link to connect directly with one of our partners - http://pacifichealth.org.nz/covid-19- support/