Given what is known about the epidemiology and transmission dynamics of Covid-19, the physical separation of older people may be a sound public health strategy. However, it is important to consider the psychosocial impact of such a strategy on older people and take pre-emptive steps to mitigate it. Data from a national survey of 4,549 older Singaporeans, conducted by the Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE) at the Duke-NUS Medical School in 2016 to 2017, shows a sharp fall in social network and an increase in loneliness with age. Older Singaporeans with a lower extent of social network are more likely to be depressed, and loneliness increases the risk of mortality among them. Physical separation would further reduce their social network and increase their loneliness. Those aged above 70 years, who are even more likely to be socially isolated, are worse off. Making use of technology, be it landline or mobile phones and/or Internet-based communication tools, such as messaging apps, conferencing platforms or online social networks, is the key way forward.
Read full article here: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/helping-older-folk-stay-connected