COVID-19 mental health response to focus on the elderly — Tufton

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COVID-19 mental health response to focus on the elderly — Tufton

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says that the ministry will be launching a mental health initiative in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which will focus on the elderly.

He made the disclosure at the weekly virtual COVID Conversations press briefing on Wednesday at the Northern Caribbean University in Manchester.

The press conference focused on the elderly and was held as part of activities for Senior Citizens Week.

Tufton said that the older members of the society are fearful of the virus and are abiding by the COVID safety protocols. He noted, however, that adhering to the measures have disrupted their lifestyle and is having a major impact on their mental and physical health.

As such, he is encouraging people who may not have seen their elderly relatives in a while to pay them a visit, while maintaining the safety protocols.

“We know you're trying to protect them by not going over there to their homes to visit… but listen, you can mask up, sanitise and still visit. They just want somebody to talk to. Maintain the six feet distance; even if you can't touch them still visit them," he advised.

The minister also urged persons to encourage their elder relatives to keep active and to move around the house, as inactivity over an extended period can lead to debilitating conditions.

"Please look out for our senior citizens, whether you are a relative or their friend, because they need someone to talk to. Encourage them, but still practise the protocols and let's not assume that because they are locked up they are safe, because that's not the case; that's not automatic," he noted.

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