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Local program seeing negative mental and physical changes in older citizens due to the pandemic

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - To protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19, like the elderly, a local organization was forced to put in place strict regulations, but those regulations are taking a toll on the mental health of the seniors.

Siouxland PACE, operated by UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's, is a program of all inclusive care for the elderly.

Randy Ehlers, the director of Siouxland PACE, says they provide health and human services to those 55 and older, through different services.

Ehlers said before COVID-19, 50 to 60 people would gather at the facility for personal care, therapy exercises, or a meal. Therapists were also able to go to their homes to help with safety equipment.

Because of COVID-19, the center has been closed and at-home visits are not happening, isolating the participants from their friends at PACE. It is something their clients are taking very hard.

"With inactivity comes a risk for falls, but also we have seen the emotional toll it takes as well, and also people are losing some of their cognitive abilities as well because they aren't interacting with people as much, Amanda Delaney, an occupational therapist.

Ehlers said they are still doing what they can to provide care for their clients. Staff members are doing daily telehealth visits and video calls for friendly conversation and to see if there are questions.

For more information about Siouxland PACE, click here.

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Xava Parra

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