Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is encouraging Jamaicans to check on the elderly members of the society and to maintain daily contact with them, to ensure that they are feeling well and are in good health.
The CMO, who was addressing a virtual meeting with the Rotary Clubs of Manor Park, Spanish Town, North St. Catherine and Portmore, on Tuesday (September 29), said as a result of the changes that have been brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the control measures that have been implemented, a lot of persons, including the elderly, are experiencing anxiety and fear.
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie further added that the changes in daily routine, the uncertainty and confinement, especially among the elderly, are also contributing to the mental health problems in society.
In relation to the elderly who are now at home, the CMO said “many of them have lost physical contact, many of them have lost social contact and certainly now, as children and persons are concerned about back-to-school and work issues, there may be a neglect of the elderly persons who are confined at home and would have lost their routine and who would have shared the same anxieties and concerns associated with what is happening with the pandemic”.
In addition, the CMO said that the loss of physical activities is also a threat to the elderly.
Therefore, Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie, while noting that this is an area for the Rotary and other clubs to place emphasis on, said that everybody who knows somebody over 60, needs to ensure that they call them on a daily basis and tell them “to get up and exercise and move around, and they need to ensure that they have things that they have been deprived of”.
In the meantime, the CMO also sought to reassure Jamaicans that the Government is still working assiduously to control the virus and to keep the public safe.
“Many persons are saying we have dropped our hands, but for me, this is the hardest part, because the engagement of healthcare workers, the management of personal protective equipment, the trials testing, all of this now become more intense. We have to manage and try to prevent persons from moving from moderate to critically ill to severely ill to needing a ventilator and to ensure that the health system is able to respond, ” she added.
The CMO said the Government is cognisant of the need to keep the population informed and engaged, and also to decrease exposure to the vulnerable.