The Texas Tribune published an article on the damage isolation has on nursing home residents. And some families say the damage to their loved ones from prolonged isolation has already been done. Scientists have long studied the effect of social interaction on the brain. Unfortunately, the pandemic has offered a sad occasion to measure the consequences of the lack of interaction. Anxiety and depression increase with social isolation.

Isolation can lead to mental and physical decline, said Dr. Carmel Dyer. Dyer is professor and executive director of the Consortium on Aging at UTHealth in Houston.  Dyer said people with moderate to severe dementia are not always aware of the reasons why their loved ones can’t visit or hug them and might feel abandoned.

“The coronavirus pandemic has been a constant and precarious balancing act between limiting the spread of the virus and the need for life to go on. In few places has this balance been more delicate than in long-term care facilities, where elderly and medically fragile residents have been deprived of visits from loved ones for almost five months.”

COVID-19 has been so devastating in long-term care. In Texas alone, over 25,000 infections and over 3,500 deaths since the pandemic began. Facilities are fearful of allowing any visitors and wary of putting more pressure on their staff.

The visitation rules are taking effect even as cases are still growing. Deaths in long-term care facilities still make up for a third of the state’s overall toll. More than 1,100 new cases have been reported over the past week, more than double the weekly average for June.” Research revealed that visits fell by 53% between March and April, new findings. There are no good answers and each family have tough choices to make.

One in Three Seniors Is Lonely. Here's How It's Hurting Their Health | Time