Seniors in the state of Connecticut are speaking out about the physical and mental toll placed on their lives by the pandemic.
NBC Connecticut spoke with seniors over the over the age of 70 who say they and many of their friends have dealt with the struggle to maintain their physical health with ailments they were dealing with prior to the pandemic as well as social isolation being in a high risk category.
"The pandemic changed my life so much. It was a dark place for me," said Pat Marcinczyk. At the YMCA in Meriden, like many seniors, 73-year-old Marcinczyk finds herself trying to regain strength and get back to life pre-Covid. "I would come to the Y at 8 o'clock in the morning and I wouldn't leave till noon. It was a real lifesaver for many of us who are widows or who had ailing others we were caring for it was really a lifeline," she explained.
But like many this time last year, "My whole life came to a stop," she told NBC Connecticut. Dealing with arthritis and the loss of her husband during the pandemic proved to be a struggle. "It was dreadful, full of tears, despair, defeat - all of that came crashing down," Marcinczyk said.
According to data from the state when it comes to seniors in Connecticut more than 38% say they suffered with depression during the pandemic and more than half of adults 50 and older in the U.S. reported wrestling with social isolation.
For Harriet Barone keeping not just her socialization but her body healthy was a challenge.
"Keeping the joints moving is very critical to arthritis. The whole thing regressed the mind, the body everything - everything just went kaput," said Barone.
But there is hope. With restrictions starting to ease groups like Healthtrax fitness are getting back into full swing.
"A big portion of what we're is what we call functional training its strength training," said Lisa Capezzone, group exercise coordinator at Healthtrax fitness.
"It's lifting those weights several times to imitate lifting a garbage pail but also balances as seniors they're starting to lose their balance, but again to it's just a social connection that they have with their group coming back in."
But doctors say even if the seniors in your life don't feel comfortable returning to the gym quite yet, that doesn't mean they can't exercise.
"I would recommend something very simple like Going outside for a walk in the park or in the neighborhood or doing some classes at home," Dr. Angela Stein said.