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Columbus Dispatch: Seniors Navigating New Normal After Raging Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the country and in central Ohio. All ages have been impacted, with lives thrown off of their normal trajectory. One of those hit hardest has been the senior population. Early on, that age group was impacted as they were widely viewed as the most vulnerable. Thankfully, many got the vaccine. Still with variants coming on now, some are wondering how to navigate this "new normal."

Marian Schuda, MD is the medical director of the Gerlach Center for Senior Health at the new OhioHealth Neuroscience Wellness Center.  She says one of the things that families can do is communicate with their senior members, and be inclusive. "Don't be afraid to gently coax grandma to come out to brunch with you," Schuda said to The Columbus Dispatch. "If she goes, she'll probably have a good time." 

There will certainly be adjustments, as so many spent the last year in isolation.  Dr. Schuda says it is perfectly fine to start small until there is a comfort level found for everyone.  

"Seniors can use the summer's warm weather to the fullest potential," Schuda said.  "Gathering outdoors at a safe distance is a great way to acclimate to post-pandemic activities."

Technology has certainly had a big hand in keeping seniors connected to family members.  But for many, the need for interaction goes even further.  Many seniors haven't seen friends in a long time.  Schuda says there is some good news, as senior centers have started to reopen, and programming is starting to come back, even in reduced numbers.

"These activities and offerings are so important for seniors to feel a bit of that normalcy and fill the void that has been there from the start of the pandemic," Schuda told The Dispatch.

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