Seniors' residences lockdown might protect from COVID-19 but pose other health risks
Published Saturday, March 28, 2020 10:50PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Residents have been confined to Quebec's seniors' homes for weeks to protect them from COVID-19 but that has presented other health problems according to family members.
Nadine Azoulay, whose father Leon lives in Cote-St-Luc's King David residence said the isolation is taking a toll. The King David has had three seniors test positive for the virus and residents have been unable to leave their rooms since March 17.
“There's no communication, there is total confusion and change of routine and isolation,” said Azoulay.
Azoulay said her 91-year-old father suffers from dementia and has suffered at least one fall that sent him to hospital since the facility went into lockdown. She said his health is quickly deteriorating.
“He has no idea what time of day it is,” she said. “He's calling at night and day. He's more confused than usual. I'm heartbroken. I'm terrified about what's going to happen to him after a few more weeks of this.”
Azoulay said she's also been cut off from seeing her 85-year-old mother who suffers from advanced Alzheimer's and who isn't mobile.
“She's already very fragile and doesn't respond well,” she said. “I'm expecting the worst.”
While Azoulay said she understands the measures are in place to protect seniors, who are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, she said not every case is the same.
“There has to be some modification to this rule to allow for people who need extra attention,” she said.
Geriatrician Olivier Beauchet said social distancing can have severe side effects for the elderly.
“Patients with mental cognitive issues and impairment, an inability to understand what is going on, this change of habit is very disturbing for this kind of patient and can increase their cognitive impairment,” he said.
Still, Beauchet said allowing family into the residences is still too risky but caregiving programs can offer some help during the pandemic.