Senior citizens affected by isolation during pandemic

WWNY Senior citizens affected by isolation during pandemic

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Senior citizens are feeling the effect of the coronavirus lockdown, in many cases, much more than the rest of us.

There are no visitors anymore at nursing homes. Community rooms at senior housing are closed down. For seniors, COVID-19 lockdowns can have severe effects.

“We're really worried. This is a time when we're coming out of winter when people have been shut in,” said

Andrea Montgomery, St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging director.

In senior housing, residents venture down hallways rarely. But they do have ways to reach out.

“We talk on the phone. I mean, people here even, I visit with on the phone...Don't know what I'd do without that,” said Bernice Aldrich, Hermon senior.

Meals are no longer served in community rooms at the senior housing in Hermon. Bible study there is called off.

“We miss it. I miss it. But it's for our own good,” said Aldrich.

The fear is that some seniors could become isolated. So family, agencies and neighbors are stepping up. Delivering meals is one example.

“We were very lucky that our community came together and we had over 125 calls from people wanting to help us and volunteer,” said Montgomery.

The Office for the Aging is now starting a new telephone program. Seniors can sign up to have someone call them twice a week for some conversation.

Things are difficult for all seniors these days. But there is one group of seniors for whom the situation is even more heart wrenching.

On March 12, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced visitors would no longer be allowed at nursing homes – even family. They're adjusting.

“Skype and Facebook are two of the most popular ways that our families are able to reach out and actually enjoy some face time with our residents,” said Stacey Cannizzo, United Helpers vice president of clinical and quality services.

Activities like bingo are still going on, but with social distancing. And employees are wearing protective gear at all times.

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