Though COVID-19 has undeniably impacted nearly everyone in the world, it has disproportionately affected seniors in more ways than one. While it’s true that coronavirus is deadlier for older adults than younger ones (particularly those with pre-existing conditions), it’s also true that the stress of that fact can weigh heavy on those who should be enjoying their twilight years, making the overall influence of this pandemic striking for seniors.
Health Risks of COVID-19 for Seniors
It’s no secret that coronavirus targets seniors more aggressively than any other age group, but a cursory glance at the data reveals precisely how severe the disparity really is. According to the Center for Disease Control, 8 out of 10 deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States have been adults aged 65 or older.
The CDC also estimates that as many as 70% of seniors 85 and over are being hospitalized for coronavirus when they test positive for the virus. This isn’t an isolated occurrence—in Sweden, 90% of COVID-19 deaths have been adults age 70 or older.
There are a few reasons that seniors are more vulnerable to coronavirus than other segments of the population. The most resounding is simply that they are more likely to have pre-existing conditions such as respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. These comorbidities weaken seniors’ immune systems, making them susceptible to COVID-19.
Another more surreptitious reason that the elderly may be experiencing higher rates of infection is the fact that many older adults reside in communal living facilities which foster interaction rather than distance; given that one-third of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been those who live or work in nursing homes, this correlation is one that shouldn’t be ignored.
Coping with The Stress of The Pandemic
For months, seniors have been inundated with dire news stories about the dangers that await them due to COVID-19; that sort of constant pressure takes its toll on a person’s mental health. In turn, though the potential physical impacts of coronavirus are certainly great, the psychological cost is almost equal.
Seniors who are feeling the effect of COVID-19 on their mental well-being have a number of options for relieving their anxiety:
Take a break from watching the news or reading news stories if they incite discomfort
Call a loved one, or engage in an enjoyable activity that inspires a sense of calm
Reach out to the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
Though practically everyone is dealing with some sort of distress as a result of this global pandemic, no group is feeling that discomfort quite so acutely as seniors; they may need extra support and care during this trying time.
Green Box Solutions understands the unique nature of this crisis, particularly as it relates to seniors, and we’re here to offer help through education, preparedness kits, and more. COVID-19 has tested the limits of patience and sanity for many, but it has been (and will continue to be) especially difficult for seniors; they deserve compassion during these unprecedented moments.