Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the recommendations involving the elderly who are at greater risk, Solon senior citizen Roz Sobel was an active senior going out each day on errands, shopping and seeing her grandchildren.
Today, that situation has drastically changed.
“I’m going nuts,” Ms. Sobel, 73, said.
She is not doing anything now but watching television in her Solon home and not seeing her family.
“My family is being very cautious because I have had open heart surgery in the past,” she said. “They are afraid of getting me infected.”
A stay-at-home order issued this week by Ohio Gov. DeWine is impacting families and senior citizens who may be living alone. This and other orders, including closing nonessential businesses, have been issued in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus sweeping the state, country and world. Doctors say older people are in the high-risk group.
To protect her health, Ms. Sobel has not been out of her home in days.
At the beginning of the outbreak, she went out to get enough food and is debating whether to go out again, but early in the morning before the crowds. Some grocery stores are offering special early morning hours for senior citizens.
“This is so scary,” she said.
Solon senior Eleanor Melzer, 90, is also housebound.
She used to drive to the Solon Senior Center every day, she said, and now is just home, watching TV and playing some games.
“I live alone and exercise every morning in my chair,” she said. “I feel bored. There’s plenty to do, but it’s not what I want to do.”
Ms. Melzer said she misses her friends and all the activity. Someone from the senior center calls her each day to check on her and she is grateful for that, she said.
The senior center in Solon was closed down by the city even before Gov. DeWine ordered all such centers closed.
“It makes me feel like I’m part of a community,” Ms. Melzer of the daily contact from those of the senior center.
She speaks to her family on the phone and her one daughter does her shopping. She reads quite a bit but is getting down to the end of her books, she said.
“I hope this clears up, but it doesn’t look like it,” Ms. Melzer added. “We have to leave it in the Lord’s hands and depend on him.”
Ms. Sobel said she is starting to feel depressed because she cannot go anywhere or do anything.
“I’ve worked my whole life and now I’m doing this?”
Solon senior Barry Heifer, 68, said he too is bored. He went grocery shopping for the first time in two weeks and was saddened by the empty shelves.
He and his wife Joan usually are active, visiting the senior center each day before the virus struck.
“They gave us a phone call Tuesday just to check on us and see how we were doing,” Mr. Heifer said.
He and his wife are in good health, and he hopes to keep it that way.
While homebound, they are working on house projects, he said, and things they have put off for years, such as painting. They have not seen their children but talk to them on the phone each day.
“I feel very isolated,” Ms. Sobel said. She has two cats. She stays up late at night, playing games on her phone and watching TV.
“I get 25 calls a day and am sick of the scams,” she continued. “This world is so screwed up.”
She said the senior center has been wonderful.
Senior Center Director Jill Frankel said the center has moved on to long-term planning in assisting the seniors who cannot leave their home. They have concerns not just about making sure their basic needs are met, but also about the effects of social isolation.
“Plans are to assist them in combatting those feelings,” Ms. Frankel said.