Published on July 10, 2021
Part of Mindemic series
Ahmedabad: A 65-year-old man approached a city-based psychiatrist in May as the Covid cases had just started ebbing. The senior citizen came from a well-to-do family and his son is settled in the US, and he lives with his wife in the city.
“His wife got Covid-19 infection. She was first treated under home isolation, but later needed hospital admission. He had to go from pillar to post to ensure a bed for her. The bigger worry he had was about his own health – if he fell ill, who would take care of his wife?” said the psychiatrist. “He started evaluating his life. He complained of sleeplessness, feeling of fatigue and anxiety.”
As the second wave of the pandemic is nearly over, it has left many scars for senior citizens who lost their dear friends or life partners, and found it difficult to move forward. While the death toll remained high in the second wave, many were fearful whether they would contract it or bring it home for other family members.
At Jeevan Aastha helpline, the counsellors fielded a call from a woman in her early 70s. The woman was also from upper middle class having her two children settled abroad for several years now.
“Her husband had passed away three years ago. She had a domestic help and several relatives, but she was afraid that if she gets infected by Covid-19, she wouldn’t know what to do,” said a counsellor.
City-based experts said that loss of routine, overexposure to social media messages related to the pandemic and a yearning for meeting the children and grandchildren in person were some of the reasons of stress among others for many senior citizens.
They added that often it got manifested with irritability or anger arising out of the feeling of helplessness.
“The cases have got reduced due to reduction in Covid cases, but the need of the hour is dialogue with near and dear ones, pursue a hobby or work that one likes and engage in light exercises outdoors that can lift the mood,” said Dr Ramashankar Yadav, a city-based psychiatrist.