GREAT FALLS — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is a risk factor for serious depression.
Senior centers have been hit especially hard with isolation in the past few years. Now, as procedures and protocols begin to loosen up, senior living centers are starting to see an increase in excitement and a decrease in depression.
Kim Harrison of The Lodge Senior Living in Great Falls says that she has seen an increase in excitement among residents since the CDC has loosened the protocols.
“94% of our residents are vaccinated, and because of that the residents are being able to do a lot more and you can really start to see them opening up again,” she said. “You could see a huge shift in depression when the residents were told that they were going to go into lockdown, prior to the pandemic. But since the CDC has made changes they are able to go out into the communities with masks on and come to the dining hall. You start to see that depression fade away.”
On the topic of depression with elderly living centers, Harrison notes the number of residents that have animals has also been increasing, "we have eight residents with animals including cats. And oh my goodness does it make a difference”
“It takes your mind off of things because you can’t be sad because you have to focus on your little guy," one resident said.
Since The Lodge is so pet-friendly they have decided to take part in the national Betty White fundraiser. In doing so they have been able to raise almost $100, hopefully to pay a adoption fee for a family who is looking for their very own fur baby.