Side Effects of Social Isolation on Seniors and High Risks Populations - Perseverance Movement Specialists & Pilates
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Side Effects of Social Isolation on Seniors and High Risks Populations

Side Effects of Social Isolation on Seniors and High Risks Populations 1

At this time, the main concern for many is protecting themselves and preventing exposure to Coronavirus, which I commend everyone for pulling together to do their part. 

With all the extra precautions being put into place to slow the spread of the virus, my concern is for the unanticipated second order consequences on people’s health and the healthcare system, like aftershocks they will be felt throughout the nation. 

I know a lot of people are especially worried about their parents and grandparents and are going to great lengths to protect them. But, many are without the resources to keep them healthy while they are confined within the walls of their home. 

Following the recommendation to practice social distancing and limit interactions to avoid spreading the virus and getting sick means that many people will not be leaving their house for the next few weeks or even months except to go out for essentials like groceries and medications, if that.


Deconditioning and Decline

As a consequence, physical activity will greatly decrease. This lack of regular exercise for a large population of seniors and high risk populations will lead to the onset of unnecessary weakness, compromised balance and stability and loss of independence that could have been completely avoided. 

Many of my older and “higher-risk” clients were most concerned about losing all the gains they had made and what their quality of life would look like if they were left on their own. (Read on to see how we met this barrier head on and how they are keeping active, safe and encouraged….).


Increased Risk For Falls and Fractures

This was the first concern I had as social isolation went into effect. That the incidence of falls and fractures would rise, not immediately per se, but in the months to come as the effects of deconditioning, depression and deterioration become apparent.

With the passing of weeks and months in social isolation without any sort of regular guided exercise to keep their bones and muscles strong and balance on point the elderly are at increased risk for falling. Another concern is that they are bored and then start doing home projects alone beyond their current abilities and are at a risk for serious injury.

Just see the statistics below and the consequences of falls …

  • 1 in 4 Americans aged 65+ falls each year
  • About every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall, every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Two-thirds of those who fall will fall again within 6 months
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in the ER yearly, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
  • Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling on the side
  • More than half of fatal falls involve people > 75 years
  • One fourth of persons > 65 years who fracture a hip from a fall die within 6 months of the injury

The absolute last place they need to be right now is in a (germ-factory) hospital where the risk of exposure to infection is higher.  

Not to even factor in the emotional trauma that is felt in the family over a loved one’s fall, the continued worry over repeated falls and if the next step is assisted living. Nothing is harder than to watch a once vibrant parent or grandparent lose their independence, dignity, confidence and zeal for life.

Want to test your balance, fall risk and learn more about how to de-risk and “fall-proof” your home and get started with some safe exercises to do at home to help you or someone you love stay healthy, strong and stable during this time?


Download our FREE Balance and Falls Guide here. 


Emotional Well-being and Stimulation

“It is not good for man to be alone.” 

We all need community and accountability. It is what is going to get us through this current situation, sustain us and allow us to thrive in the next chapter.

There are a lot of seniors that are no longer volunteering, gathering with family, grandkids and attending their social groups. Taking away their purpose, fulfillment and the satisfaction that comes from loving, caring and helping another. 

Our ability to love and serve is what makes us innately human. So the best medicine to protect mental wellness is to stay connected, keep checking in and create an environment and tasks that they can safely engage in to feel like they are contributing to brightening another’s day.


How to Keep Safe, Active and Engaged

So where do you turn with so much “information” out there and YouTube videos galore?

Fitness for the elderly depending on their fitness level and their associated health considerations, should be monitored and guided. Self selected programs could put them at further risk for exacerbating already existing aches, pains, arthritis and cause injury and falls. 

When this crisis went into effect our team simply pivoted to provide custom programs, videos and plans for our clients virtually. We are continuing to have weekly sessions with them so they stay motivated, safely progressing and we get to cheer them on- and they love it and I love hear that “we’re doing pretty good”, to quote a favorite 91 year old client who pre Corona was tearing up the local college track. The smiles and laughs are priceless too.

Additionally, we switched our regular Speciality Small Group Classes to LIVE virtual classes that will challenge people of all different fitness levels, with minimal or no equipment needed to participate. 

They include our signature Back and Core Class, Balance and Posture, Release and Restore, Cardio Sculpt and Pilates classes. For full descriptions of the classes, times and easy sign up click here. It is as simple as clicking a button to join our small group classes that are taught by one of our Movement Specialists.

Want to learn more and see if you qualify for one of our Complimentary Virtual Mobility or Pilates Session to help you get started with a safe home program or put to rest any concerns you may be losing sleep over?

Just click here the button to fill out a quick simple form and then schedule your session, there is no fee or obligation to continue with any program.

We are honored to serve our community and however we may be able to support everyone in need, either with live classes, complimentary consultations, private mobility sessions, health and wellness individualized programs. 

Also, don’t forget to  follow us on social to get daily health, fitness and nutrition tips, resources and videos…

Yvonne Castillo

Yvonne Castillo

Dr. Yvonne Castillo is one of Santa Barbara’s leading Movement Specialists who helps active adults become more active, fit, active and independent so they live the life they love without fear, limitation and having to depend on painkillers or procedures. ​ Every day people consult Yvonne looking for the guidance to get them back to their active lifestyles faster and permanently. She helps them understand and address their current performance limitations, individual risk factors and weak links, prevent injury, avoid loss of mobility, flexibility, strength, stability and balance, avoid surgery and protect against falls, slow decline of their independence or the steady increase in aches, pains, stiffness, loss of energy or confidence in their ability to be active like they truly desire to be.​

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