Seniors Still Worry about Socializing

For most people, post-COVID anxiety has dissipated and life has largely returned to a more usual pace.  But for many older adults who were most affected by lockdowns and restrictions, diminished social interaction and confidence has lingered long past the Pandemic.  The U.S. pharmacy chain Walgreens hopes to help seniors become more socially active with a monthly Seniors Day.  

According to a recent Walgreens press release, a recent study by the retailer found that many seniors are still concerned about becoming sick. About 42 percent of seniors surveyed said they are less socially active now than before the pandemic.  Also, roughly 20 percent of seniors said they feel lonelier now than before COVID-19. 

Anxiety about becoming ill from COVID-19, which is still common in the senior community, has led about 60 percent of those surveyed to worry about gathering regularly with friends and family, 36 percent miss going on vacation, 28 percent miss going shopping or running errands, 19 percent miss being connected to their community and 15 miss doing things independently for themselves, like going shopping. Among the Black senior community over 55, nearly 4 in 10 reported feeling isolated and said they were limiting their activities fearing contracting COVID-19.  

To help boost seniors’ confidence in socializing regularly, the Walgreens Seniors Day program hopes to create an accessible, safe and supportive environment where older adults and their caregivers can save money, receive help with medication management, and access no-cost COVID-19 tests and booster vaccines.  Vaccines for shingles and pneumonia, assistive devices, and supplements are also available to help protect seniors and improve their quality of life. 

Ready to get back to socializing?  According to Healthline Health News, experts suggest attending small gatherings at first. Seniors may want to wear a mask at public functions until they feel more comfortable.  Now that the weather has warmed, outdoor gatherings are also a good option for older and vulnerable adults who are concerned about contracting COVID-19.  Making more frequent plans for small, fun activities over time can help older adults adjust to post-pandemic life with less anxiety while practicing moderate caution. Staying informed of virus trends can also help older adult minimize their risk for infection.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing persistent depression, anxiety or feelings of isolation.