DAVENPORT, Iowa — In Iowa 99-percent of people who have died from Covid-19 are over the age of 55, that's according to the President of the Center for Active Seniors, Laura Kopp. Physical ailments are prevalent, but so are mental ailments. Isolation is making pandemic life that much harder for older adults.
Eight floors up, four windows over. 76-year-old Cheryl Carlson has barely left her Davenport apartment building in a year.
"Just sitting here is so bad, It's really hard," says Carlson.
Pre-pandemic Carlson was always going out, connecting with friends and family.
"We used to go out everyday and do something either have lunch or go down to the river or farmers market, just do anything," says Carlson.
Carlson came down with Covid-19 back in February of last year. She got through it. But she and millions of other seniors are still dealing with the mental effects of the pandemic.
"The longer you sit and think, the worse you get. You get these traumatic thoughts in your head that shouldn’t be there. Negative thoughts, ya know. It's just hard. And it seems like everything comes down on you. And there isn’t anything you can do about it. And there's no hope for me. I tend to pray a lot. And there's just times it feels like it's never going to be over with. Yeah, it's insurmountable. You just cannot get over it sometimes, and there have been days where I just sit and cry," says Carlson.
Laura Kopp from the Center for Active Seniors, CASI, says socialization is key for seniors as they age.
"Our entire mission at CASI at the forefront is socialization because we know that folks age much better when they are able to stay connected with other people and have those social connections as an outlet. So without that we are seeing a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety," says Kopp.
When a global pandemic is keeping us distanced. Kopp says it's more important than ever to stay connected.
"Make a phone call. People want to be remembered, and they want to know they aren’t losing those relationships, that they haven’t been forgotten," says Kopp.
We may be apart, but we have to hold out hope together.
"We will make it through this. We've made it through 50 million other things, we sure can do this. And if we can't, we will all go down together, what the heck," says Carlson.