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COVID-19 restrictions affected seniors' well-being, doctor says

The continuous implementation of quarantine restrictions on senior citizens amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a toll on their physical and mental health, a doctor said Tuesday.

In Manal Sugadol’s report on “Stand for Truth,” Dr. Gerald Belandres said that this was because the number of activities available to seniors decreased as they were prohibited from going out due to the pandemic.

“Mentally naman kasi, no, nandoon talaga ‘yung naapektuhan talaga tayo ng depression, naapektuhan talaga sila ng anxiety, na minsan kasi usually, lalo na kapag nakakatanda na, iniisip nila na sila ‘yung nag de-decide for themselves or for the family,” Belandres said.

“The problem is, nagkakaroon talaga tayo ng limited lang ‘yung pag galaw natin. Syempre, nandoon kasi talaga ‘yung depression at naapektuhan talaga ‘yung healthy well-being nila,” he added.

On August 17, the Department of the Interior and Local Government released a memorandum allowing senior citizens to leave their homes under a general community quarantine and modified community quarantine.

However, seniors must have no illnesses, immunodeficiencies, and comorbidities. Furthermore, their reason for venturing out must be either for an essential activity, services, or work.

Though senior citizens were finally allowed to step outside of their homes, Belandres said that their relatives had the responsibility of protecting them.

“Para naman sa mga relatives naman, no, kung sasamahan naman natin sila dapat pro-protektahan pa rin natin sila, no. Lalo na’t once kasi nasa, sabihin natin, mataong lugar tayo, kailangan parin natin ipalayo sila sa mga taong pwede sila mahawa,” he said.

He also urged the public to be mindful of seniors when out in public.

“At sa mga tao naman na nakakasalubong ang mga senior citizens, dapat maging responsible pa rin tayo sa mga act natin. Once kasi nakakakita na tayo ng mga senior citizens, kailangan pa rin talaga doon ‘yung courtesy para at least naman lumayo tayo ng konti at magkaroon pa rin tayo ng physical distancing,” he said.

Watch the video to know more. —  Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News