By: Brenda Teed, LSW, COVID-19 Social Support Coordinator & Preventionist
Thankfully we are in a very different place than when the COVID-19 pandemic first began, but we remain torn between a desire to move on from the past few years and the need to acknowledge covid’s ongoing toll, especially on our elderly population who have be hard hit.
While vaccinations, boosters, and antiviral treatments have led to a substantial decline in severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalizations, and deaths, the elderly population continues to have the highest death rate.
As of the week ending October 1, 2022, the US has lost nearly 1.1 million lives to COVID-19, of which about 790,000 are people ages 65 and older. People 65 and older only account for 16% of the total US population but 75% of all COVID deaths to date.
The rise in deaths over the summer months is primarily a function of the more transmissible omicron variant, relatively low booster uptake compared to vaccination, and waning vaccine immunity.
It is really important as we move forward, that we listen to older adults and their caregivers and take actions to do what we can to improve their situation. It is critical that we help older people and their caregivers while navigating the aging process and staying safe from COVID. Creating age-friendly health care systems, supporting caregivers, and improving end of life care is essential to meet older adult needs.
Home care, nutritious food, toiletries, medicine, social support and information for mental and emotional well-being are critical. We also need to provide tailored and accurate information on how to stay healthy during the pandemic and what to do if falling ill.
Please feel free to contact me if you or an elderly loved one is need of information and resources. I can be reached at 862-259-1002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.