AUSTIN, Texas, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Social distancing continues to be an effective approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means many Texans are spending more time indoors and less time with friends or family. While this can lead many to feel lonely and isolated, social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation.
Superior HealthPlan encourages all Texans to understand the signs of loneliness and social isolation – in themselves and others – and learn ways to cope during this challenging time.
A sense of loneliness can affect anyone, of any age, at any time. During the COVID-19 emergency, families may be impacted:
- In children and teens, social skills are first developed at school, so missing a lot of school can cause loneliness.
- For adults, unemployment can eliminate the opportunity for social interaction and relationships often developed at work.
- For the elderly, it is more common for them to be homebound.
"Feelings of loneliness can negatively affect both physical and mental health," said Dr. David Harmon, Chief Medical Director at Superior. "Social isolation can increase mortality in older adults as well as illnesses and conditions such as chronic lung disease, arthritis and impaired mobility."
One study equated the health risks of prolonged isolation with smoking 15 cigarettes per day, so it's important to take steps to help those who may be struggling. Here are some signs that a person may be socially isolated:
- Deep boredom, general lack of interest and withdrawal.
- Lack of interest in personal hygiene.
- Poor eating and nutrition.
- Significant disrepair, clutter and hoarding at home.
Superior HealthPlan is encouraging Texans to take action if they or a family member is struggling with social isolation during the COVID-19 emergency, and to understand the resources available to help. While abiding by the CDC's social distancing guidelines, there are ways to stay connected and avoid social isolation:
- Share joy. Post positive messages on social media.
- Connect. Call, text or video chat with family and friends when visiting them is not an option.
- Try something new. Learn a musical instrument or try a new dance move.
- Make a date. Form an online book club or play online games with others.
- Cook. Make healthy dinners and share recipes and photos on social media.
- Exercise. Find an online yoga, spinning or exercise class while practicing social distancing.
Superior supports members dealing with the realities of being physically isolated as social distancing continues by:
- Offering a free online tool that enables hospitals, social workers, healthcare providers, care coordinators and other residents to quickly and easily find free or low-cost resources and services available in their area with a simple search. Visit superiorhealthplan.auntbertha.com to learn more.
- Ensuring members have access to care by working with healthcare providers to increase the scope and scale of telehealth services. Through smart devices and phones, patients can meet with their doctor online and avoid exposure to other people in clinical settings.
- Providing access to myStrength, and online tool for members to take care of their mental health. It is available 24/7 from a computer or mobile device and offers personalized resources to improve overall mood as well as help members overcome the challenges they face.
To learn more about resources that may be available to address social isolation or loneliness, visit Superior's behavioral health resources page.
About Superior HealthPlan
Founded in 1999, Superior HealthPlan is a managed care company that delivers quality health care throughout Texas. Committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time, Superior supports active local involvement in all 254 Texas counties with more than 4,000 employees in 9 offices throughout the state. Superior is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise offering both core Medicaid and specialty services. More information on Superior can be found at www.SuperiorHealthPlan.com.
SOURCE Superior HealthPlan