🔥🔥🔥 Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis

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Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis



Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis metropolitan China has Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis rapid cultural transformation over recent decades, the risk of suffering from depression appears to have risen dramatically: in a retrospective study, Chinese born Aging Challenges: Discrimination, Violence, Justice System were calculated to Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis Evolution and depression: issues and implications. Partly as loneliness tends to make people more suspicious about each other. Richins, Pamela Qualter The similarity between the two groups in their relationships towards the non-Orthodox, and its adoption by some Haredi groups, has blurred the lines between the Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis and Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis segments of Orthodoxy. Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis Psychol 30—37 There Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis also been suggestions that each person has their Loneliness In Our Modern Age Analysis optimal level of social interaction.

Loneliness \u0026 Isolation - Aging Matters - NPT Reports

In short, this use of ill-informed examples may have unintentionally reinforced the view that there are few if any justifiable alternatives to liberalism in modern societies. Communitarians could score some theoretical points by urging liberal thinkers to be cautious about developing universal arguments founded exclusively on the moral argumentation and political experience of Western liberal societies, but few thinkers would really contemplate the possibility of non-liberal practices appropriate for the modern world so long as the alternatives to liberalism consisted of Golden Ages, caste societies, fascism, or actually-existing communism.

For the communitarian critique of liberal universalism to have any lasting credibility, thinkers need to provide compelling counter-examples to modern-day liberal-democratic regimes and s communitarians came up short. By the s, fairly abstract methodological disputes over universalism versus particularism faded from academic prominence, and the debate now centers on the theory and practice of universal human rights. This is largely due to the increased political salience of human rights since the collapse of communism in the former Soviet bloc. This view also revived and provoked the second wave communitarian critique of liberal universalism and the debate became much more concrete and political in orientation.

Needless to say, the brief moment of liberal euphoria that followed the collapse of the communism in the Soviet bloc has given way to a sober assessment of the difficulties of implementing liberal practices outside the Western world. It is now widely recognized that brutal ethnic warfare, crippling poverty, environmental degradation, and pervasive corruption, to name some of the more obvious troubles afflicting the developing world, pose serious obstacles to the successful establishment and consolidation of liberal democratic political arrangements.

But these were seen as unfortunate hopefully temporary afflictions that may delay the end of history when liberal democracy has finally triumphed over its rivals. They were not meant to pose a challenge to the ideal of liberal democracy. It was widely assumed that liberal democracy is something that all rational individuals would want if they could get it. The deeper challenge to Western liberal democracy has emerged from the East Asian region. Asians, they claim, place special emphasis upon family and social harmony, with the implication that those in the chaotic and crumbling societies of the West should think twice about intervening in Asia for the sake of promoting human rights and democracy. And it looks like Asian values was one casualty of the crisis.

The political factors that focused attention on the East Asian challenge remain in place, however. East Asian economies did eventually recover. China in particular looks set to become an economic and political heavyweight with the power to seriously challenge the hegemony of Western liberal democratic values in international fora see Bell Thus, one hears frequent calls for cross-cultural dialogue between the West and the East designed to understand and perhaps learn from the other side. Failing to take seriously East Asian political perspectives risks widening misunderstandings and setting the stage for hostilities that could have been avoided.

From a theoretical point of view, however, it must be conceded that the official debate on Asian values has not provided much of a challenge to dominant Western political outlooks. The main problem is that the debate has been led by Asian leaders who seem to be motivated primarily by political considerations, rather than by a sincere desire to make a constructive contribution to the debate on universalism versus particularism.

Thus, it was easy to dismiss—rightly so, in most cases—the Asian challenge as nothing but a self-serving ploy by government leaders to justify their authoritarian rule in the face of increasing demands for democracy at home and abroad. Still, it would be a mistake to assume that nothing of theoretical significance has emerged from East Asia. The debate on Asian values has also prompted critical intellectuals in the region to reflect on how they can locate themselves in a debate on human rights and democracy in which they had not previously played a substantial part.

Neither wholly rejecting nor wholly endorsing the values and practices ordinarily realized through a liberal democratic political regime, these intellectuals are drawing on their own cultural traditions and exploring areas of commonality and difference with the West. Though often less provocative than the views of their governments in the sense that few argue for the wholesale rejection of Western-style liberal democracy with an East Asian alternative these unofficial East Asian viewpoints may offer more lasting contributions to the debate. Let me briefly note three relatively persuasive East Asian arguments for cultural particularism that contrast with traditional Western arguments for liberal universalism see Bell , ch.

Cultural factors can affect the prioritizing of rights, and this matters when rights conflict and it must be decided which one to sacrifice. In other words, different societies may rank rights differently, and even if they face a similar set of disagreeable circumstances they may come to different conclusions about the right that needs to be curtailed. For example, U. In contrast, the Chinese may be more willing to sacrifice a civil or political liberty in cases of conflict with a social or economic right: there may be wide support for restrictions on the right to form independent labor associations if they are necessary to provide the conditions for economic development. Different priorities assigned to rights can also matter when it must be decided how to spend scarce resources.

For example, East Asian societies with a Confucian heritage will place great emphasis upon the value of education, and they may help to explain the large amount of spending on education compared to other societies with similar levels of economic development. Cultural factors can affect the justification of rights. Rather, they should be made from the inside, from specific examples and argumentative strategies that East Asians themselves use in everyday moral and political debate.

For example, the moral language shared even by some local critics of authoritarianism tends to appeal to the value of community in East Asia, and this is relevant for social critics concerned with practical effect. One such communitarian argument is that democratic rights in Singapore can be justified on the grounds that they contribute to strengthening ties to such communities as the family and the nation see below, section III. Cultural factors can provide moral foundations for distinctive political practices and institutions or at least different from those found in Western-style liberal democracies.

In East Asian societies influenced by Confucianism, for example, it is widely held that children have a profound duty to care for elderly parents, a duty to be forsaken only in the most exceptional circumstances. Political debate tends to center on the question of whether the right to filial piety is best realized by means of a law that makes it mandatory for children to provide financial support for elderly parents as in mainland China, Japan, and Singapore or whether the state should rely more on indirect methods such as tax breaks and housing benefits that simply make at-home care for the elderly easier, as in Korea and Hong Kong. But the argument that there is a pressing need to secure this duty in East Asia is not a matter of political controversy.

Thinkers influenced by East Asian cultural traditions such Confucianism have also argued for distinctive as-yet-unrealized political practices and institutions that draw on widely-held cultural values for inspiration. Korean scholars Hahm Chaihark and Jongryn Mo argue for the need to revive and adapt for the contemporary era such Choson dynasty institutions as policy lectures and the Confucian censorate, traditional institutions that played the role of monitoring the dealings of the Emperor Hahm Chaihark , Mo , Bell , ch. In contrast to s communitarian thinkers, East Asian critics of liberal universalism have succeeded in pointing to particular non-liberal practices and institutions that may be appropriate for the contemporary world.

Some of these may be appropriate only for societies with a Confucian heritage, others may also offer insights for mitigating the excesses of liberal modernity in the West. What cannot be denied is that they have carried forward the debate beyond the implausible alternatives to liberalism offered by s communitarian thinkers. It is worth emphasizing, however, that contemporary communitarians have not been merely defending parochial attachments to particular non-liberal moralities. Far from arguing that the universalist discourse on human rights should be entirely displaced with particular, tradition-sensitive political language, they have criticized liberals for not taking universality seriously enough, for failing to do what must be done to make human rights a truly universal ideal.

In fact, there is little debate over the desirability of a core set of human rights, such as prohibitions against slavery, genocide, murder, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, and systematic racial discrimination. These rights have become part of international customary law, and they are not contested in the public rhetoric of the international arena. Of course many gross violations occur off the record, and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have the task of exposing the gap between public allegiance to rights and the sad reality of ongoing abuse. This is largely practical work, however. There is not much point writing about or deliberating about the desirability of practices that everyone condemns at the level of principle.

The question is: how can the current thin list of universal human rights be expanded to include some of these contested rights? Charles Taylor has put forward the following proposal Taylor He imagines a cross-cultural dialogue between representatives of different traditions. Rather than argue for the universal validity of their views, however, he suggests that participants should allow for the possibility that their own beliefs may be mistaken.

There will come a point, however, when differences cannot be reconciled. Taylor explicitly recognizes that different groups, countries, religious communities, and civilizations hold incompatible fundamental views on theology, metaphysics, and human nature. For one thing, it may not be realistic to expect that people will be willing to abstract from the values they care deeply about during the course of a global dialogue on human rights. Even if people agree to abstract from culturally specific ways of justifying and implementing norms, the likely outcome is a withdrawal to a highly general, abstract realm of agreement that fails to resolve actual disputes over contested rights.

For example, participants in a cross-cultural dialogue can agree on the right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment while radically disagreeing upon what this means in practice—a committed Muslim can argue that theft can justifiably be punished by amputation of the right hand, [ 8 ] whereas a Western liberal will want to label this an example of cruel and unusual punishment. As we have seen, the debate on universalism versus particularism has moved from fairly abstract methodological disputes between Anglo-American philosophers to relatively concrete international political disputes between philosophers, social scientists, government officials, and NGO activists. The distinctive communitarian contribution has been to cast doubt on universal theories grounded exclusively in the liberal moralities of the Western world, on the grounds that cultural particularity should both make one sensitive to the possibility of justifiable areas of difference between the West and the rest and to the need for more cross-cultural dialogue for the purpose of improving the current thin human rights regime.

Various contributions from East Asia and elsewhere have given some meat to these challenges to liberal universalism. In any case, let us now turn to the second main area of controversy between liberals and communitarians—the debate over the self that has similarly moved from philosophy to politics. Communitarian thinkers in the s such as Michael Sandel and Charles Taylor argued that Rawlsian liberalism rests on an overly individualistic conception of the self.

Whereas Rawls argues that we have a supreme interest in shaping, pursuing, and revising our own life-plans, he neglects the fact that our selves tend to be defined or constituted by various communal attachments e. This insight led to the view that politics should not be concerned solely with securing the conditions for individuals to exercise their powers of autonomous choice, as we also need to sustain and promote the social attachments crucial to our sense of well-being and respect, many of which have been involuntarily picked up during the course of our upbringing.

First, however, let us review the ontological or metaphysical debate over the self that led to this political conclusion. Moreover, this atomistic view of the self can undermine liberal society, because it fails to grasp the extent to which liberalism presumes a context where individuals are members of, and committed to, a society that promotes particular values such as freedom and individual diversity. Fortunately, most people in liberal societies do not really view themselves as atomistic selves. But do liberal thinkers actually defend the idea that the self is created ex-nihilo , outside of any social context and that humans can exist and flourish independently of all social contexts?

As it turns out, the communitarian critique of the atomistic self does not apply to Rawslian liberalism: in Part III of Theory of Justice , Rawls pays close attention to the psychological and social conditions that facilitate the formation of liberal selves committed to justice. While liberals may not have been arguing that individuals can completely extricate themselves from their social context, the liberal valuation of choice still seemed to suggest an image of a subject who impinges his will on the world.

Far from acting in ways designed to realize an autonomously arrived-at life-plan, vast areas of our lives are in fact governed by unchosen routines and habits that lie in the background. More often than not we act in ways specified by our social background when we walk, dress, play games, speak, and so on without having formulated any goals or made any choices. It is only when things break down from the normal, everyday, unchosen mode of existence that we think of ourselves as subjects dealing with an external world, having the experience of formulating various ways of executing our goals, choosing from among those ways, and accepting responsibility for the outcomes of our actions. In other words, traditional intentionality is introduced at the point that our ordinary way of coping with things is insufficient.

Yet this breakdown mode is what we tend to notice, and philosophers have therefore argued that most of our actions are occasioned by processes of reflection. Some liberals have replied by recognizing the point that vast areas of our lives are governed by unchosen habits and routines, that the deliberate, effortful, choosing subject mode may be the exception rather than the rule.

They emphasize, however, that the main justification for a liberal politics concerned primarily with securing the conditions for individuals to lead autonomous lives rests on the possibility and desirability of normative self-determination, that is, on the importance of making choices with respect to things that we value Doppelt And what liberals care about ultimately is the provision of the rights, powers, and opportunities that individuals need to develop and implement their own conceptions of the good life.

This qualified version of the liberal self, however, still seems to imply that moral outlooks are, or should be, the product of individual choice. We cannot make sense of our moral experience unless we situate ourselves within this given moral space, within the authoritative moral horizons. Thus, the liberal ideal of a self who freely invents her own moral outlook, or private conception of the good, cannot do justice to our actual moral experience. But once again, liberals need not deny the assumption that our social world provides a framework of the higher and the lower nor need it be presumed that we must regard our own moral outlook as freely invented.

Will Kymlicka, for example, explicitly recognizes that things have worth for us in so far as they are granted significance by our culture, in so far as they fit into a pattern of activities which is recognized by those sharing a certain form of life as a way of leading a good life Kymlicka , The best life is still the one where the individual chooses what is worth doing, achieving, or being, though it may be that this choice has to be made within a certain framework which is itself unchosen. Communitarians can reply by casting doubt on the view that choice is intrinsically valuable, that a certain moral principle or communal attachment is more valuable simply because it has been chosen following deliberation among alternatives by an individual subject. If we have a highest-order interest in choosing our central projects and life-plans, regardless of what is chosen, it ought to follow that there is something fundamentally wrong with unchosen attachments and projects.

But this view violates our actual self-understandings. In fact, there may even be something distasteful about someone who questions the things he or she deeply cares about—certainly no marriage could survive too long if fundamental understandings regarding love and trust were constantly thrown open for discussion! Liberals can reply that the real issue is not the desirability of choice, but rather the possibility of choice. There may well be some unchosen attachments that need not be critically reflected upon and endorsed, and it may even be the case that excessive deliberation about the things we care about can occasionally be counter-productive.

But some of our ends may be problematic and that is why we have a fundamental interest in being able to question and revise them. For example, an oppressed woman has a fundamental interest in being able to critically reflect upon traditional understandings of what it means to be a good wife and mother, and it would be unjust to foreclose her freedom to radically revise her plans.

This response, however, still leaves open the possibility of a deep challenge to liberal foundations. Perhaps we are able to reexamine some attachments, but the problem for liberalism arises if there are others so fundamental to our identity that they cannot be set aside, and that any attempt to do so will result in serious and perhaps irreparable psychological damage. Or a gay liberation activist may claim that it is both impossible and undesirable for gays to repress their biologically-given sexual identity. These arguments are not implausible, and they seem to challenge the liberal view that no particular end or commitment should be beyond critical reflection and open to revision.

This end is beyond willed change and one loses a commitment to it at the price of being thrown into a state of disorientation where one is unable to take a stand on many things of significance Taylor , 26—7. Does this really threaten liberal politics? It may, if liberal politics really rests on the liberal self. Fortunately, that is not the case. Rereading some of the communitarian texts from the s, there seems to have been an assumption that once you expose faulty foundations regarding the liberal self, the whole liberal edifice will come tumbling down.

The task is to criticize the underlying philosophy of the self, win people on your side, and then we can move on to a brand new communitarian society that owes nothing to the liberal tradition. This must have been an exhilarating time for would-be revolutionaries, but more level-headed communitarians soon realized that overthrowing liberal rights was never part of the agenda. Even if liberals are wrong to deny the existence of constitutive ends—even if the philosophical justifications for a liberal form of social organization founded on the value of reflective choice are rotten to the core—there are still many, relatively pragmatic reasons for caring about rights in the modern world.

To name some of the more obvious benefits, liberal rights often contribute to security, political stability and economic modernization. In short, the whole debate about the self appears to have been somewhat misconceived. Liberals were wrong to think they needed to provide iron-clad philosophies of the self to justify liberal politics, and communitarians were wrong to think that challenging those foundations was sufficient to undermine liberal politics.

Not surprisingly, both sides soon got tired of debating the pros and cons of the liberal self. By the early s, this liberal-communitarian debate over the self had effectively faded from view in Anglo-American philosophy. So what remains of the communitarian conception of the self? What may be distinctive about communitarians is that they are more inclined to argue that individuals have a vital interest in leading decent communal lives, with the political implication that there may be a need to sustain and promote the communal attachments crucial to our sense of well-being.

This is not necessarily meant to challenge the liberal view that some of our communal attachments can be problematic and may need to be changed, thus that the state needs to protect our powers to shape, pursue, and revise our own life-plans. But our interest in community may occasionally conflict with our other vital interest in leading freely chosen lives, and the communitarian view is that the latter does not automatically trump the former in cases of conflict. On the continuum between freedom and community, communitarians are more inclined to draw the line towards the latter.

But these conflicts cannot be resolved in the abstract. Much turns on empirical analyses of actual politics—to what extent our interest in community is indeed threatened by excess liberal politics, to what extent the state can play a role in remedying the situation, to what extent the nourishment of communal ties should be left to civil society, and so on. This is where the political communitarians of the last decade have shed some light. Let us now turn to the politics of community, the third major strand of the communitarian thought. In retrospect, it seems obvious that communitarian critics of liberalism may have been motivated not so much by philosophical concerns as by certain pressing political concerns, namely, the negative social and psychological effects related to the atomistic tendencies of modern liberal societies.

Whatever the soundness of liberal principles, in other words, the fact remains that many communitarians seem worried by a perception that traditional liberal institutions and practices have contributed to, or at least do not seem up to the task of dealing with, such modern phenomena as alienation from the political process, unbridled greed, loneliness, urban crime, and high divorce rates. And given the seriousness of these problems in the United States, it was perhaps inevitable that a second wave of s communitarians such as Amitai Etzioni and William Galston would turn to the more practical political terrain of emphasizing social responsibility and promoting policies meant to stem the erosion of communal life in an increasingly fragmented society.

Etzioni is also the director of a think-tank, Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies , that produces working papers and advises government officials in Washington. Such political communitarians blame both the left and the right for our current malaise. The political left is chastised not just for supporting welfare rights economically unsustainable in an era of slow growth and aging populations, but also for shifting power away from local communities and democratic institutions and towards centralized bureaucratic structures better equipped to administer the fair and equal distribution of benefits, thus leading to a growing sense of powerlessness and alienation from the political process.

Moreover, the modern welfare state with its universalizing logic of rights and entitlements has undermined family and social ties in civil society by rendering superfluous obligations to communities, by actively discouraging private efforts to help others e. Libertarian solutions favored by the political right have contributed even more directly to the erosion of social responsibilities and valued forms of communal life, particularly in the UK and the US. Far from producing beneficial communal consequences, the invisible hand of unregulated free-market capitalism undermines the family e.

This trend has been reinforced by increasing globalization, which pressures states into conforming to the dictates of the international marketplace. More specifically in the American context, communitarian thinkers such as Mary Ann Glendon indict a new version of rights discourse that has achieved dominance of late Glendon Whereas the assertion of rights was once confined to matters of essential human interest, a strident rights rhetoric has colonized contemporary political discourse, thus leaving little room for reasoned discussion and compromise, justifying the neglect of social responsibilities without which a society could not function, and ultimately weakening all appeals to rights by devaluing the really important ones.

Notice that this proposal takes for granted basic civil and political liberties already in place, thus alleviating the concern that communitarians are embarking on a slippery slope to authoritarianism. Still, commmunitarian thinkers quietly lifted the call for a moratorium on the minting of new rights, presumably because of growing consensus that marginalized groups, such as same-sex couples seeking the right to legally sanctioned marriage, have a legitimate claim to new rights Macedo, and would be paying the price for the excesses of others if the moratorium is put into effect. More serious from the standpoint of those generally sympathetic to communitarian aspirations, however, is the question of what exactly this has to do with community.

For one thing, Etzioni himself seeks to justify his policies with reference to need to maintain a balance between social order and freedom, Etzioni as opposed to appealing to the importance of community. But there is nothing distinctively communitarian about the preoccupation with social order; both liberals such as John Stuart Mill and Burkean conservatives affirm the need for order. And when the term community is employed by political communitarians, it seems to mean anything they want it to mean. Worse, as Elizabeth Frazer has argued, it has often been used to justify hierarchical arrangements and delegitimize areas of conflict and contestation in modern societies Frazer Still, it is possible to make sense of the term community as a normative ideal. This excludes contingent attachments such as golf-club memberships, that do not usually bear on ones sense of identity and well-being the co-authors of Habits of the Heart Bellah et al.

Unlike pre-modern defenders of Gemeinshaft , however, it is assumed that there are many valued forms of communal life in the modern world. So the distinctive communitarian political project is to identify valued forms of community and to devise policies designed to protect and promote them, without sacrificing too much freedom. Typically, communitarians would invoke the following types of communities:. Communities of place, or communities based on geographical location. This is perhaps the most common meaning associated with the word community. In this sense, community is linked to locality, in the physical, geographical sense of a community that is located somewhere.

It can refer to a small village or a big city. At the very least, communitarians posit an interest in identifying with familiar surroundings. In terms of political implications, it means that, for example, political authorities ought to consider the existent character of the local community when considering plans for development Jane Jacobs famously documented the negative effects of razing, instead of renovating, run-down tenements that are replaced by functionally adequate but characterless low-income housing blocs Jacobs Even big cities can and should strive to protect and promote a distinctive ethos Bell and de-Shalit Other suggestions to protect communities of place include: granting community councils veto power over building projects that fail to respect existent architectural styles; implementing laws regulating plant closures so as to protect local communities from the effects of rapid capital mobility and sudden industrial change; promoting local-ownership of corporations; Shuman and imposing restrictions on large-scale discount outlets such as Wal-Mart that threaten to displace small, fragmented, and diverse family and locally owned stores Ehrenhalt Communities of memory, or groups of strangers who share a morally-significant history.

This term—first employed by the co-authors of Habits of the Heart —refers to imagined communities that have a shared history going back several generations. Besides tying us to the past, such communities turn us towards the future—members strive to realize the ideals and aspirations embedded in past experiences of those communities, seeing their efforts as being, in part, contributions to a common good. They provide a source of meaning and hope in peoples lives. Typical examples include the nation and language-based ethnocultural groups. In Western liberal democracies, this typically translates into various nation-building exercises meant to nourish the bonds of commonality that tie people to their nations, such as national service and national history lessons in school textbooks.

Self-described republicans such as Michael Sandel place special emphasis upon the national political community and argue for measures that increase civic engagement and public-spiritedness Sandel The risk of COVID infection is greater for older adults over the age of 60 years who are at a heightened risk of severe illness, hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death US CDC, This compares with CFR of 0. However, there is a high cost associated with the essential quarantine and social distancing interventions for COVID, especially in older adults, who have experienced an acute, severe sense of social isolation and loneliness with potentially serious mental and physical health consequences.

The impact may be disproportionately amplified in those with pre-existing mental illness, who are often suffering from loneliness and social isolation prior to the enhanced distancing from others imposed by the COVID pandemic public health measures. Older adults are also more vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness as they are functionally very dependent on family members or supports by community services. While robust social restrictions are necessary to prevent spread of COVID, it is of critical importance to bear in mind that social distancing should not equate to social disconnection. The present position paper aims to describe the nature of loneliness and social isolation among older persons, its effect on their health, and ways to cope with loneliness and social isolation during the COVID pandemic.

Loneliness and social isolation frequently co-occur and are all too common in older adults. Studies suggest that while loneliness and social isolation are not equal to each other, both can exert a detrimental effect on health through shared and different pathways. The situation has only worsened with the restrictions imposed to contain viral spread. Loneliness is associated with various physical and mental repercussions, including elevated systolic blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease. Both loneliness and social isolation have been associated with an increased risk for coronary artery disease-associated death, even in middle-aged adults without a prior history of myocardial infarction Heffner et al.

Furthermore, research has shown that both loneliness and social isolation are independent risk factors for higher all-cause mortality Yu et al. Being lonely has several adverse impacts on mental health. Loneliness, along with depressive symptoms, are related to worsening cognition over time. A systematic review concluded that loneliness and social isolation were significantly associated with incident dementia Kuiper et al.

The proposed mechanism for the adverse health impacts of loneliness focuses on the physiological stress response such as increased cortisol Xia and Li, Abnormal stress responses lead to adverse health outcomes. For social isolation, the mechanism may be related to behavioral changes, including an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, alcohol consumption, lower physical activity, poor dietary choices, and noncompliance with medical prescription Kobayashi and Steptoe, ; Leigh-Hunt et al.

A smaller social network with less medical support exacerbates these conditions. Recognizing and developing a better understanding of these possible mechanisms should help us to design the most impactful interventions. There are established ways to maintain feelings of being connected to others despite having to maintain social distancing. By organizing our activities every single day, we can become more resistant to the onset of feelings of loneliness. For older adults, some tips are as follows. Spend more time with your family. Utilize opportunities offered by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, some family members may have been distracted by work and school commitments, but now they may have more time at home and a higher degree of freedom to connect with older loved ones.

In the era of social distancing, quality interactions using physical distancing of at least two meters along with the use of personal protective equipment such as masks enable contact with family members. This is vitally helpful to defend against loneliness. Maintain social connections with technology. Along with the telephone, technology has changed the way people interact with each other. Many older adults, however, may not be as familiar with these new technologies, and this style of interaction may not effectively serve their emotional needs. We can help older family members and friends to overcome such technology barriers. Online video chat is easier to use and sufficiently conveys nonverbal cues so that people can feel more engaged.

Even without new technology available, communication through phone services is beneficial too. Conversations with a regular schedule through online or phone services with family members and loved ones can be helpful for older adults. Ensure basic needs are met. Family and carers should ensure food, medication, and mask accessibility for older adults, especially those who live alone. Structure every single day. To stay confined at home for much of every day is a psychological challenge for many people. When most outdoor activities are not available, it is not easy to maintain a regular daily schedule.

However, we can encourage and support engagement with activities deemed pleasurable by the older person with benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Regular scheduling is especially supportive for older people at risk of delirium, which is characterized by a disturbance of circadian rhythm. Television and YouTube channels adapted for older adults with proper physical and mental programs e. Maintain physical and mental activities. Exercise has benefits for physical and psychological health specifically for mood and cognition.

There is evidence that regular engagement in mentally challenging and new activities may reduce the risk of dementia. Although we may not be able to exercise together as before, we should maintain physical activities at the individual level. Besides, these personal physical activities can be performed at a group level by setting a common goal, sharing our progress, or creating a friendly competition via social media.

Pursue outdoor activities while following the guidance of social distancing. Brief outdoor activities are usually still possible and beneficial to health. One can feel much better as a result of sunlight exposure and the ability to see other people while still maintaining physical distancing. Manage cognition, emotion, and mood. Loneliness is often associated with negative thoughts cognitions. Moreover, anxiety and depression may cause social withdrawal which will exacerbate the loneliness and isolation associated with social distancing.

Acquiring reliable information about the pandemic helps avoid unnecessary worry and negative rumination. Emotional support for family members and friends is especially important during this harsh pandemic period, but one should not hesitate to seek help as well. Pay attention to psychiatric symptoms. The pandemic is quite stressful for every individual, and the significant stress can precipitate the occurrence or recurrence of mental disorders in some people, especially vulnerable older people. Depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance are common, especially when one is under quarantine or self-isolation. Other symptoms include anger, irritability, and compulsive behaviors, such as repeated washing and cleaning.

Furthermore, the experiences of social isolation and quarantine may bring back post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms for those previously exposed to other related events such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome epidemics Hawryluck et al.

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