Containment wreaks havoc on our society’s most vulnerable and isolated population.


Monday, May 4, 2020

HelpAge Canada board member Christine Vilcocq speaks with TVA nouvelles about the 3 Dangers of confinement: Depression, Decompensation and Deconditioning.

“Seniors are losing their mental and physical conditioning,” says expert Christine Vilcocq. The list of seniors in distress is growing and the situation is far from over, according to Ms. Vilcocq, gerontologist and director of operations for the Centre of Excellence on Longevity. “In confinement, seniors are losing their habits: they are losing their mental and physical conditioning,” the expert deplores.

These seniors, who may have been well at home before the crisis, will be found dependent again, believes Christine Vilcocq. Like adults in confinement, the seniors are hardly walking and hardly go out. Thus, habits get lost and they will hesitate before coming out. “Necessarily, there will be more and more people who will fall into this anguish, this anxiety or this motor and psychic deconditioning,” she says.

Less care, more distress
Many seniors, for whom medical follow-up is essential, are reluctant to receive home care for fear of community contagion.

“After six weeks of confinement, our seniors are at home and there has been a breakdown in the continuum of care, which makes patients who are already very vulnerable fragile,” explains Ms. Vilcocq.

Since this new reality is causing a disruption in basic needs, such as food and access to care and medication, the Centre of Excellence on Longevity has set up an assessment to identify at-risk, home-isolated seniors. Out of 6400 registered users, 9% of the files are identified as “red” and require emergency assistance.

“Home care will take some time to recover and there will always be this fear of contagion. Christine Vilcocq sends a message to seniors who feel they need help.

“It’s difficult for everyone and if there’s any problem, if you feel discomfort, pain or great unhappiness, it’s absolutely necessary to talk about it. There is no embarrassment, no shame. It is imperative that we express it as quickly as possible and reach all the support cells that are set up, whether it is 811, 211 or 911.”