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      COVID-19 lockdown: the unspoken toll on the 65+ community in Turkey

      Working with Older People
      Emerald Publishing Limited
      Elderly, COVID-19, Vulnerability, Social isolation, Ageism, Loneliness

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          On March 21, 2020, the Turkish Government imposed a curfew for citizens 65 years old and over and ordered them to stay at home as a measure to protect them against the COVID-19 outbreak. The curfew ended on June 10, 2020, having lasted 82 days. The purpose of this paper is to examine the significant emotional burden on the elderly, as they felt excluded and battled with despair during the lockdown.


          This reflective paper shares the COVID-19 lockdown experiences of the author with a group of elderly residents of a small community in Ankara, Turkey. Through semi-structured interviews and analysis, three overarching themes of the residents’ experience were identified: vulnerability, social isolation/loneliness and ageism.


          The elderly in the community are individuals who get their social interaction outside the home. As a result of the nearly three months of social isolation, they have experienced social disconnection and health problems,


          To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first attempt to give voice to the silenced group of elderly and share their thoughts and feelings during this difficult COVID-19 lockdown in Turkey.

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          Most cited references13

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          COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly

          As countries are affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the elderly population will soon be told to self-isolate for “a very long time” in the UK, and elsewhere. 1 This attempt to shield the over-70s, and thereby protect over-burdened health systems, comes as worldwide countries enforce lockdowns, curfews, and social isolation to mitigate the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, it is well known that social isolation among older adults is a “serious public health concern” because of their heightened risk of cardiovascular, autoimmune, neurocognitive, and mental health problems. 2 Santini and colleagues 3 recently demonstrated that social disconnection puts older adults at greater risk of depression and anxiety. If health ministers instruct elderly people to remain home, have groceries and vital medications delivered, and avoid social contact with family and friends, urgent action is needed to mitigate the mental and physical health consequences. Self-isolation will disproportionately affect elderly individuals whose only social contact is out of the home, such as at daycare venues, community centres, and places of worship. Those who do not have close family or friends, and rely on the support of voluntary services or social care, could be placed at additional risk, along with those who are already lonely, isolated, or secluded. Online technologies could be harnessed to provide social support networks and a sense of belonging, 4 although there might be disparities in access to or literacy in digital resources. Interventions could simply involve more frequent telephone contact with significant others, close family and friends, voluntary organisations, or health-care professionals, or community outreach projects providing peer support throughout the enforced isolation. Beyond this, cognitive behavioural therapies could be delivered online to decrease loneliness and improve mental wellbeing. 5 Isolating the elderly might reduce transmission, which is most important to delay the peak in cases, and minimise the spread to high-risk groups. However, adherence to isolation strategies is likely to decrease over time. Such mitigation measures must be effectively timed to prevent transmission, but avoid increasing the morbidity of COVID-19 associated with affective disorders. This effect will be felt greatest in more disadvantaged and marginalised populations, which should be urgently targeted for the implementation of preventive strategies.
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            Older people and COVID-19: Isolation, risk and ageism

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              Aging in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Avoiding Ageism and Fostering Intergenerational Solidarity


                Author and article information

                Working with Older People
                Emerald Publishing Limited
                18 November 2020
                13 December 2020
                : 24
                Issue : 4 Issue title : Ageing in unusual times: the experience of older people and those who work with them in the time of Covid-19 Issue title : Ageing in unusual times
                : 303-311
                [1]Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University , Ankara, Turkey
                Author notes
                Ozgur Ates can be contacted at: ates@politics.ankara.edu.tr
                653040 WWOP-07-2020-0037.pdf WWOP-07-2020-0037
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 18, Pages: 1, Words: 5538
                e-viewpoint, Viewpoint
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-VG, Vulnerable groups
                cat-OPG, Older people/gerontology
                cat-SOCY, Sociology
                cat-SFAM, Sociology of the family
                cat-AGE, Ageing
                Custom metadata
                Web-ready article package

                Ageism,Elderly,Social isolation,Vulnerability,COVID-19,Loneliness


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