Older people “need social interaction beyond what they get via media—such as touch—to feel they are in touch,” said Dan Blazer, professor of psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, and a researcher on geriatric behavioral health. “So functional decline could be dramatic.” Functional decline is a clinical term for the inability to perform the tasks necessary to care for oneself.
Gallardo said she felt the lack of physical contact very acutely: Zoom, she said, is “just not the same as a hug.”
Complicating matters is what might be a unique hurdle among boomers, or at least the elderly: a tendency to reject help from younger people. Gallardo said “six or seven” of her former student teachers offered to help out with tasks like grocery shopping. “I’m fine, and I’m really healthy, so I don’t really need them to do that,” she told The Daily Beast.