With the world marking the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons on October 1, the Hellenic Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (HAGG) issued an appeal to the public on Thursday to protect vulnerable people against the novel coronavirus.
“Isolation, being away from family and loved ones, the inability to be self-sufficient, the danger of infection, the possibility of losing friends and the fear of dying is an explosive mix that poses a threat to the lives of older persons,” the HAGG said in an announcement.
“Many older persons suffer from depression and often have psychosomatic symptoms reflecting the problems they are dealing with,” it added.
Apart from advising older persons to diligently implement safety measures such wearing a mask in public settings, maintaining physical distancing and avoiding unnecessary outings from their homes, the HAGG also appealed to younger members of the public to protect their older relatives and neighbors by doing the same.
“The recent serious outbreaks at elderly care homes are due to the negligence of relatives and carers,” the association warned.
The Prolepsis Institute for preventive medicine, meanwhile, also issued a statement on Thursday, stressing the importance of providing emotional and psychological support to senior citizens during the health crisis.
To this end, the institute has set up a hotline on tel 210.610.1300 for people above the age of 65 who are feeling lonely or socially excluded. Operators will be on hand to provide support (in Greek), Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.