EAGAN, Minn., Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Even after many months of living with the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota seniors say they are maintaining a positive attitude and are determined to stay focused on good health. That's according to a new poll release by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
The poll found most seniors have been impacted to varying degrees by the pandemic, but a majority believe Minnesotans can ultimately overcome the challenges, both in health and lifestyle.
Health goals a top priority
On the individual level, nine out of ten seniors reported feeling inspired to pursue at least one health goal – with a majority planning to get started right away.
"Minnesota seniors told us that despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, they remain optimistic about their life and health," said Dr. Mark Steffen, vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "COVID-19 has been a 'wake-up call' for many, and we're seeing seniors make a renewed commitment to taking care of themselves."
The optimistic attitudes reflected in the poll survey don't diminish the seriousness of the times, however, and seniors face real difficulties. One in five Minnesota seniors report feeling lonely, anxious or depressed, and a majority of seniors fear a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Additionally, as public activities continue to take place, two in five seniors fear they or their loved ones may be exposed to coronavirus.
Tips for seniors on navigating life and health during COVID-19
John Hines, who recently retired after spending more than four decades as one of the Twin Cities' most recognized radio personalities, has teamed up with Blue Cross to raise awareness on health matters facing seniors during the pandemic. Hines says he experienced disruptions in his own life this year while adhering to social distancing measures.
"It's the traditions I've missed most this year, from emceeing special community events to catching a game at the ballpark," Hines said. "But what I look forward to most is getting to travel again to visit my sons and grandchildren."
Hines' story is just one of many. The Blue Cross poll mapped out what seniors said they are looking forward to most as Minnesotans await a semblance of normal. Chief among them were visiting family, dining out, and feeling comfortable shopping.
"We all look forward to the simple things in life that we once maybe took for granted," said Dr. Steffen. "As we progress into fall and winter months, all of us committing to protecting ourselves and our communities will help us more quickly return to the joys we look forward to most."
Blue Cross recommends that seniors take steps now to promote their health and wellbeing
Seniors can take action to help ensure they go into winter feeling strong:
Charge ahead with health goals, such as eating healthy, staying active and improving mobility;
Stay current on immunizations (including flu shots);
Use technology to keep oneself connected and making progress on goals;
Reduce risks of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and other guidelines; and
Keep up with overall health care by staying in touch with care providers and scheduling the Annual Wellness Visit that is covered by Medicare.
To poll Minnesota's seniors, Blue Cross conducted its survey among a sample of 500 residents across the state, 64 years and older. The survey was fielded from August 31 to September 14, 2020.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota and Blue Plus® are nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.