The Loneliness of Lockdown Could Leave People ‘Stuck’

In just a few weeks, COVID-19 profoundly changed our lives, causing enormous human suffering and challenging the basic foundations of social welfare.

The Woman Post | Rafael Ricardo Lopez Marti

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Beyond the immediate effect on health, employment and income, the pandemic increases human anxieties and concerns, affects their social relationships, their confidence in others and institutions, including their personal safety and sense of belonging, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) web portal.

Impacts on People’s Lives and Well-Being

The impacts of COVID-19 in the short and medium-term will be particularly serious for the most disadvantaged and pose the risk of aggravating current socio-economic divisions. That is why governments are called for swift and decisive action to support the most vulnerable human beings, and stresses the importance of providing a comprehensive and coordinated policy response that includes strengthening social protection, education, health care, housing support, and concrete interventions to improve the personal safety of women and children, as well as actions to support vulnerable workers, small businesses, communities, and lagging regions. Let's take a look at the most vulnerable groups.

The Elderly

The COVID-19 outbreak poses significant challenges for the elderly. First, this population group is at increased risk of developing serious complications if the infection is contracted. Second, the development of diseases in old age can greatly impair its functioning and health. Third, stricter confinement measures go to the elderly, which represents a major change in their daily lives and restricts their independence. These challenges will be more serious for those in poor health, living alone or under long-term care, or caring for a family member, i.e. the percentage of the population 65 years of age or older in OECD countries almost doubled in recent decades, from less than 9% in 1960 to more than 17% in 2017.

Women

The OECD published a policy note entitled "Women at the Centre for Combating the COVID-19 Crisis," which presents a more detailed analysis of the effects of the pandemic on women. In short, women are potentially more exposed to material difficulties related to economic consequences.

Children

The COVID-19 outbreak could have significant effects on child welfare, and these are unlikely to be distributed equally. The outbreak increases daily stress related to childcare and adds to parents' long-term concerns about ensuring quality care and family life for children. Pre-existing stressors, including poverty, housing instability, social isolation, and limited access to quality health care, will increase in some families.

Youth

COVID-19 exposes vulnerable young people to increased risks of disengagement and abandonment of their education and training and can increase the total number of children who are neither studying nor working nor in training.

Also read: FINDINGS AND DIFFERENCES ON THE EFFECTS OF CONTAGION BY COVID BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

Lagging Sites and Communities

Cities marked by high inequality and high concentrations of poor urban dwellers could be more vulnerable than those with better resources, are less populated, and more equitable. The World Economic Forum recently reported that pandemics often arise from the periphery of cities. Viral outbreaks are often incubated and transmitted through peri-urban communities and transport corridors on the outskirts of a city before spreading to the city center.

Campaigns To Combat Loneliness in Times of Pandemic

-MAPFRE Foundation "Now, for Them" campaign: With this campaign, they have managed to channel resources to solve people's most urgent needs. Thanks to the collaboration of many generous people, they will be at the side of the elderly who are living in this health crisis, in need of care, food, medicine, and support. They are our memory, they deserve all our care.

-AARP Foundation y United Health Foundation: The coronavirus pandemic has created an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation among adults, leading to significant emotional and health risks.

-The Friends of the Elderly Foundation: They launched a campaign to raise awareness of the loneliness of the elderly in these days of confinement by COVID-19. They have multiplied the task of their volunteers to make 4.000 calls and video calls weekly to the large people who accompany and invite us to join, according to the portal FEMCET Special Center of Treball.

-Harena Foundation together with the support of the Malaga City Council: The main objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of loneliness, a daily and invisible problem, as well as to inform and mobilize citizens in general and the elderly in particular of the existence of the Loneliness 0 – Lifetime 10 program. Program Change is the main message used to emphasize the possibility of changing the reality of many older people.

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