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'Rise to the occasion' | Minnesota survey shows seniors see pandemic as challenge

One in five say they are anxious, lonely or even depressed, but there is some reason to be optimistic about seniors health.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — We all know that our senior citizens have been hit hardest by this pandemic. They are disproportionately dying from COVID-19. But it’s not the only way they've been impacted.

“Whether it's anxious, sometimes even downright depressed about the situation because of the isolation that comes with this pandemic,” says John Hines, spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota asked seniors how they were feeling. One in five said they were anxious, lonely or depressed. Six percent said they feel hopeless. But there were some bright spots.

“Nine in 10 see this as kind of a challenge, to rise to the occasion, and put themselves in a better position to be in better health,” says Hines.

Many of those surveyed said they planned to exercise more, eat better and lose weight. And they wanted to start on those goals right away.

“And in terms of taking positive health steps, and the one everybody recommends, and is really difficult to talk down, is getting the flu shot,” says Hines.

John Hines, of course, is a name you’ll recognize from decades on the air in Twin Cities as a radio personality. Since retiring, he’s joined forces with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota to help raise awareness about health issues during the pandemic. John did a webinar with seniors to talk about their fears and what they're most looking forward to.

“I think being able to freely associate with others without being fearful. Being able to mix it up with family, with friends, so many would like to resume travel,” he says.

“As long as you have these things to look forward to, you can find yourself in a healthy spot. It gives you some sort of a goal to pursue,” he says.

He also offered up some advice; If you're feeling lost or lonely, talk to someone.

“With people who are on Medicare, and using the supplements that go with it, they have wellness visits and taking the opportunity for that once a year wellness visit with a provider is a great idea, and discuss some of your concerns, discuss some of these things that are holding you back, it's a great opportunity to do that,” he says.

And for the rest of us, it's a good reminder to reach out to those isolated in our lives. It could make a world of difference.