Otis Redding, the king of soul wrote this song in the late 1960s. It’s not known whether this song was a reflection of Redding’s life, but it chronicles a man who is broken and mired in the pit of loneliness and depression.
Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
Watchin’ the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again…
COVID-19 and Isolation:
The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and social distancing restrictions has caused an even greater public health concern, and have contributed to another type of epidemic, loneliness. In a recent study there the “Loneliness Scale-3” and “Public Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)” were used on 1,013 isolating participants. The study revealed that 43% of those participants strongly exhibited a more depression and suicidal ideation. Loneliness is a critical public health concern that must be considered during the social isolation efforts to combat the pandemic (William, Cloonan, Taylor, and Dailey, 2020).
So I ask this question, how are you coping with loneliness during this pandemic, or are you slipping down that slippery slope of isolation? Are you self-isolating because you’ve been infected, or you are in the high-risk category and you are trying to prevent the disease from coming your way . What you didn’t expect from social distancing, was the feelings of loneliness that will likely follow.
From Loneliness to Depression
We were created to be social creatures so it’s normal to feel stress or anxious when we have been made to feel trapped or limited in our social settings. Staying indoors and interacting less with people, coupled with the underlying stress of worrying whether you will catch the virus can lead to feelings of depression. For this reason, it’s important to take care of your mental health during times of decreased social interactions.
In March we were mandated to social distance by avoiding large gatherings of people, maintaining six feet from others in public, and only going out of the house for essentials. Even this can feel like “cabin fever.” You might also feel stigmatized if you are isolated because you’ve contracted the virus or you’re grieving the loss of a loved one due to the virus.
What’s the best way to get through this period of loneliness and depression? There are many strategies that you can engage to ensure your well-being and good mental health. Most of these involve either finding ways to distract yourself (keep busy) or finding ways to connect with others.
Let me help you rewrite this ode to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Independent Adult Day Centers is proud to have been able to keep our homebound Guests engaged by delivering care packages, conducting remote/virtual activities, performing wellness checks, Healthcare Coordination, and providing in-home attendant care. Now that our Centers have reopened we continue to provide those same awesome services and more. We have made adjustments to our daily operations procedures in order keep our Guests healthy and safe while in the Centers.
Here are the steps we’ve taken to keep you healthy and safe while you Gracefully Socialize, while social distancing.
- Testing: We currently have arrangements with two laboratories and perform tests on all staff staff weekly and all Guests attending the Center at least once every other week regardless of symptoms.
- Screening: Drivers take the temperature of all Guests before they get on the bus and the receptionist takes the temperature of all Guests and employees before they enter the Center. A nurse takes the temperature of everyone in the center twice daily.
- Phased Opening: We are executing a phased transition from virtual/remote only back to in-center operations. On a weekly basis, we have the capacity to increase daily in-center attendance subject to an evaluation of our ability to successfully execute safety protocols, the local infection rate at that time, and our ability to accommodate Guest Care needs with in-home attendant care if it becomes necessary to reduce Center occupancy for any period of time.
- Distancing: By removing some chairs and tables from the dining area, we are able to accommodate 6’ spacing within the centers up to a daily census level of 50-60 Guests. Current attendance is less than 30 Guests in Center per day and we do not anticipate reaching our reduced capacity limit until early 2021. We have removed seats from all buses to increase space between passengers.
- Sanitation: We follow the strict sanitation regimens. Vans are sanitized after each trip. In the Center, we disinfect high-touch hard surfaces (doorknobs, sinks, stall doors, toilet handles and seats) every hour, and activities supplies before and after use, and dining areas before and after meals.
- PPE: All Guests and staff wear a mask at all times when on the bus or in the center, except as required by medical reasons or when eating or drinking. Extra spacing is required any time a mask is not on.
In part two I will share with you the creative approaches we do here at Independent Adult Day Center and our Virtual programming for maintaining social connectedness, all while following public health guidelines for minimizing virus transmission.
Cuncic, A. (2020). How to cope with loneliness during coronavirus https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-loneliness-during-coronavirus-4799661
Tarade, D. (2019). The meaning of life. Retrieved from:https://www.lifetypestuff.com/blog/2019/7/9/wpxuw7iwp2ojzw3al3ni7kxn39ylyt
William, D.S.K., Cloonan, A. S., Taylor, C. E., and Dailey, S. N., (2020). Loneliness: A signature mental health concern in the era of COVID-19. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178120312257#!