Fighting isolation among Utah’s seniors and caregivers

JoLynne Lyon

11/06/2020

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a caregiver hugs an elderly womanAccessible Times: the UATP Podcast Episode #5 is up!

As the pandemic drags on, it seems its toll on mental health keeps growing, especially among seniors and caregivers who feel cut off from their loved ones.


“We're seeing an increase in isolation,” says Dennis Wildman, a social worker and the Alliance Director at Sunshine Terrace, in this podcast interview.  "We're seeing the increase in infections, we're seeing an increase in stress, we're seeing a decrease in support, and all those things cause more risk factors ... As a clinician, I probably see 33 percent more mental health issues now than we ever have before in 30 years."

Technology can help, with high-tech solutions like video communications and with low-tech ones like personal protective equipment. But while the Utah Assistive Technology Program is usually all about technology, our conversation with Dennis Wildman of the Sunshine Terrace Foundation pointed out some low-tech ways to connect. He talks about “curbside counseling” and having face-to-face conversations, properly distanced, while using an important piece of low-tech assistive technology: a mask. “I'm going to tell something that will be a little shocking to people, but PPE works,” Wildman said. “Bottom line is, our personal protection equipment that we put on, we know works.” 

To hear the whole conversation, click on the player above. You can also find Accessible Times: the UATP Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout.

 

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