How COVID-19 is affecting senior citizens in Douglas County


   Quarantine has affected everybody differently, but senior citizens have had a bigger impact than most. COVID-19 is more deadly for senior citizens and people who are immunocompromised, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Senior citizens are also more likely to be immunocompromised than everyone else. Due to all of these risks, senior citizens have to take more precautions than other people. 

   Most senior citizens have been staying confined to their homes, especially those in nursing homes. The seniors in nursing homes have been cut off from family visits, and some nursing homes also have made it so the seniors have the same nurses each day in order to minimize cross-contamination. 

   Cross-contamination is also a worry for many self-dependent seniors. They are trying to avoid going out as much as possible and they are also avoiding family members. Many have also been affected in other forms. Christy Warner, retired default cash associate, and her husband were financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Warner, they lost thousands of dollars that were in their retirement funds due to the COVID-19 effects on the economy. She is hoping they will get most of their money back after the economy recovers.

   Warner is not only missing money, but “just being with friends and family whenever I want.” She also has admitted to missing conveniences such as sitting down at restaurants and having food made for her. 

   Valerie Koelling, retired customer service representative, also misses doing things such as visiting friends and going out to eat with them. “I just miss doing activities that I normally do and having the freedom to do them whenever,” said Koelling.

   Both Warner and Koelling admitted that they do not have routines set in place for this time. “I stay home a lot more; I used to go out shopping a lot more,” said Koelling. Many experts, including Claudia Allen, who is the director of behavioral science, have suggested having routines during quarantine in order to avoid depression, according to UVA Today. Warner said, “It has been a little bit awkward getting into a routine, but I would like to stop sleeping in so late.” 

   Even with senior citizens staying home and practicing caution, they are still at great risk. They can’t stay at home forever, but avoiding non-essential errands can help stop the spread, according to Vox. “Now is the time to stay at home,” said Jared Polis, governor of Colorado. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in order to slow down COVID-19, people need to stop leaving their houses and having social interactions, especially because they are putting their older family members at risk.

Carlynn Claypool, Community Chair

Christy Warner and her husband have been avoiding leaving the house. Warner said, “We like to play games, and we like the same TV shows. If I really need to get out by myself, I’ll just go for a car ride.” Photo by Carlynn Claypool