Fifty years ago, psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger studied and summed up the symptoms of chronic fatigue in medical and caregiving professions with the term burnout. He described it as a “state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one’s professional life.”
Social isolation is an enormous concern for our elderly during the current pandemic. The process of keeping our most vulnerable population from being exposed to COVID-19 must include a degree of separation from the general population and other measures to reduce transmission. However, this process alone comes with an additional set of risks not associated with infection.
Most assisted living facilities have taken measures to keep residents safe during COVID-19 by strictly limiting or not allowing visitors. While these precautions do ensure a much greater level of safety for residents, long-term isolation and quarantine can lead to unwanted side effects, such as mental stress, loneliness, and depression.