By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – Older Coloradans have been among those hit hardest by COVID-19, both by the disease, and how it has forced many into isolation. Many are concerned about the psychological risks quarantine can have, especially for older people and trying to help.

“You know I felt the easy part was relating to the individual,” Marty McGhee said.

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McGhee is an in-home caregiver with Home Instead Senior Care in Castle Rock. He has witnessed firsthand how the pandemic has affected some in the older populations.

“She’s there all by herself, her children are busy a lot, so they wanted me to come in and keep her company do projects with her,” he said.

One of his clients is a senior woman named Virginia, who suffers from memory loss, anxiety, and depression.

“And when she’s doing art she’s only focused on that, and her agitation and her worry, and how she misses her family dissipates,” Kristin Goluska, Home Instead Castle Rock Franchise Owner.

Virginia is like many seniors who have not been able to see her family as often as pre-pandemic times.

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“Isolation has skyrocketed and loneliness and with that morbidity and mortality increases as well,” Goluska told CBS4.

Goluska is McGhee’s boss.

“Almost three out of four seniors use technology to communicate to their loved ones, and we see that continuing,” Goluska said.

(credit: CBS4)

While she says not all seniors can live independently, technology is making it easier for some to keep in touch with family members virtually, Home Instead even has an app to help connect seniors with their families and caregivers.

McGhee thinks if there’s any silver lining to the one-year anniversary of COVID shutdowns and the way it has changed the lives of seniors, it’s that it has opened up moments to connect with people not too different from himself.

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“I think, more importantly, is I provide companionship, and I really try to get to know the client, figure out what makes them happy and then I go with that and if they get into a bad frame of mind I really try to turn that around,” he said.

Jacqueline Quynh