Fears that older people would suffer health consequences as a result of cocooning are being realised, according to a Cork consultant.
Dr Emer Ahern, a consultant geriatrician specialising in trauma and orthopaedic care at Cork University Hospital, said that doctors were seeing more older patients who had delayed receiving care at the height of the pandemic, or who had been physically or mentally impacted by the lockdown.
“In order to protect older adults they were effectively locked up overnight.
“All this - not eating as well, not moving as well, not connecting as well - we are directly seeing the consequences of this now,” Dr Ahern told the Echo.
The Cork consultant said that more people delayed going to their doctors over this time, and so people had delayed diagnosis.
However, doctors are also seeing more people presenting with falls or fractures because of their reduced activities.
“We had a meeting with our GP colleagues the other night, and they're absolutely seeing witness to that as well,” she said.
Dr Ahern noted that this is coming at a time when hospitals and health care more generally are particularly busy.
While the health service is facing challenges, Dr Ahern appealed to anyone with concerns to contact their doctor and stressed that healthcare is open for business.
She advised that people should try to remember three key areas to stay well to “eat well, move well and connect well.”
People should follow a healthy diet, she said, and generally try and move as much as they can, even within the house if they are housebound.
Dr Ahern stressed that connecting with people is vital.
She said while older men have reconnected with people and activities, they have observed that older women are more reluctant to go back to their previous activities and connections.
"It's really important to eat well and walk well, move well and to connect again,” she said.