Even the American media can’t hide the fact that elderly people are dying from isolation

From NBC News…

I’m afraid no one cares, of course, the typical kind hearted Brit or American cares about their elders and want to take care of them but the state forbids it. “They’re old and gonna die anyway” is a digusting attitude.

The hidden Covid-19 health crisis: Elderly people are dying from isolation

The lockdowns and visitor restrictions meant to protect nursing home residents from the coronavirus can also threaten their lives.

The moment that Tammy Roberg stepped off the elevator, she could hear her father’s booming voice.

Chester Peske, 98, loved to sit in the lunchroom at Copperfield Hill and talk to the other memory care residents about everything from the weather to the history of the highway that connected his hometown to downtown Minneapolis, 6 miles away. While he had Alzheimer’s disease, Peske still recognized his children when they came to the Robbinsdale, Minnesota, facility for weekly visits.

“He would talk and talk and talk,” Roberg said with a laugh.

Then, in March, there was almost no one that Peske could talk to.

When the pandemic hit, long-term care facilities across the country, including Copperfield Hill, shut their doors to visitors and largely kept residents to their rooms, suspending most group activities and communal meals to protect residents from Covid-19. Peske was hard of hearing, so phone calls were a struggle. Roberg’s only lifeline to her father was the staff of the facility, who reassured her that he was doing well.

The first sign of a problem came in mid-May when her father tested positive for Covid-19. Roberg prayed for his health, but was relieved when his case appeared to be asymptomatic.

Then in late May, Roberg got another alarming call from the facility. It wasn’t the virus, they said — something else was wrong. “His head was down into his chest, and he was sitting slumped in his wheelchair,” her father’s aide said, according to Roberg. “He was not his perky, chatty self.”

Roberg later learned that her father, who’d always had a healthy appetite, had been losing weight. Even more isolated in quarantine after his Covid-19 diagnosis, he was becoming quiet and disengaged, even with the staff members who tended to him, a nurse later told her.

He still had no coronavirus symptoms — he was just withdrawn, according to Roberg and an administrator at Copperfield Hill. Roberg was hopeful that he would bounce back with more hands-on attention from the facility. But four days later, on June 2, she got another call: She should come right away. Her father was dying.

That morning, Roberg flew in from Wisconsin and met her brother in the parking lot of Copperfield Hill. Together they walked into the entryway of the facility, where they were temperature-checked, and then put on gowns, gloves and face shields. A nurse finally brought them up to her father’s floor and opened the door.

“Oh wait a minute—” she said, stopping short. “I think he’s gone.”

Roberg gasped when she saw her father’s gaunt body lying on the bed. After three months of separation, she missed her only chance to see her father by minutes.

His death certificate listed the cause of death as the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and “social isolation / failure to thrive related to COVID-19 restrictions.”

Social isolation was listed as a contributing cause of death for at least nine other Minnesotans — almost all long-term care residents — from June to September, according to state death records; no deaths in the previous two years cited social isolation as a cause.

One of the nurses who treated Peske later described his deterioration as a burning candle with no oxygen left to draw from the air. It was as if a light had gone out, Roberg said: “He couldn’t survive from being isolated.”

The effort to shield elderly, frail and disabled residents from the coronavirus has created another wrenching health crisis: The confinement meant to protect the most vulnerable is also threatening their lives.

“The isolation is robbing them of whatever good days they have left — it accelerates the aging process,” Joshua Uy, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said.

“You see increased falls, decrease in strength and ability to ambulate. You see an acceleration of dementia, because there is no rhythm to your day. There isn’t a single part of a person’s life that isn’t affected.”With help from staff members, a nursing home resident stands to wave to family members below at St. John’s Home in Rochester, N.Y., on April 24.Tina MacIntyre-Yee / Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

While there is no comprehensive tally of elderly people dying from causes linked to social isolation and confinement, evidence is mounting that restrictions related to Covid-19 are taking a toll on their health, according to a review of recent research and interviews with medical experts and dozens of families across the country. The phenomenon is far harder to track than the number of Covid-19 deaths linked to long-term care facilities — 84,000 as of early October, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — as it is unusual to list isolation as an official cause of death. But the harms are still real, experts say.

One recent study of a Chicago-area nursing home found that from December 2019 to the end of April 2020, two-thirds of the residents had lost weight, in some cases dramatically — a change that researchers attributed to reduced social interaction, the cessation of family visits and schedule changes due to the pandemic.

Confinement, social isolation and the lack of external stimulation are also fueling cognitive decline and depression, which in turn increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to Dr. Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Sometimes the doors to their rooms are open, and you just see someone sitting in a chair with tears running down their face,” Aronson, who is assisting San Francisco’s response to the pandemic in long-term care facilities, said. “People ask me, ‘Is this the rest of my life? If so, I don’t want to go on.’”

More of the article found herehttps://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/hidden-covid-19-health-crisis-elderly-people-are-dying-isolation-n1244853?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma