“It is not chronological age alone that determines how one does in the face of a life-threatening infection such as Covid-19,” cautioned geriatrician and gerontologist George Kuchel of the University of Connecticut. “Having multiple chronic diseases and frailty is in many ways as or more important than chronological age.
Older people have borne a higher burden of illness and death from COVID-19, with people 65 and older experiencing higher rates of hospitalization and death. That’s only part of the sad story, however. In many instances, older people stopped seeing their doctors, and standard clinical care for their chronic medical conditions and preventive care was postponed.
Older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions are at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness and death. This is because our immune systems grow weaker as we age, which makes it more challenging for older adults to fight off infectious diseases.
An unvaccinated child is at less risk of serious Covid illness than a vaccinated 70-year-old.
“There is good reason for older adults to continue to try to avoid becoming infected, because the risk for hospitalization in that age group is still significant,” Dr. Shelli Farhadian of Yale University told me.
With infections increasing once more, and hospitalization rising among older adults, health experts offer a timely warning: a coronavirus infection can look different in older patients.
In survey, 19% of US adults 65 and over reported using their savings during pandemic – the highest percentage of 11 wealthy countries.
For one thing, fear of covid-19, more deadly for the elderly, has ushered oldies online.
Our risk model estimates chances of death and hospitalisation based on age, sex and comorbidities.
It became evident early in the coronavirus pandemic that older age is a risk factor for becoming severely ill with COVID-19. But the virus’s impact on older adults goes beyond a higher risk for serious infection: it also includes limited access to care for all health conditions, as well as considerable social and economic hardships.
Let’s learn from the pandemic and protect those who need it most—and not just from COVID-19.
Why SARS-CoV-2 infections are more severe and fatal in the aged is not known, but viable hypotheses are emerging that include changes to the immune cell repertoire, the epigenome, NAD+ levels, inflammasome activity, biological clocks, and covalent modifications of human and viral proteins.
The disregard for the elderly that’s woven into American culture is hurting everyone.
Immunosenescence describes the age-associated shift in both innate and adaptive immune systems that leads to the reduced ability to fight novel infections and contributes to the development of a chronic state of inflammation. These alterations of the immune system lead to higher rates of infection and disease.
Seniors want to age at home. But the US makes it hard.
Immediate global action and planning is needed as the pandemic will disproportionately hit older people living in poor countries
Aging usually brings greater calm and contentment. New research shows that’s still true in 2020, even though there is more coronavirus risk for the elderly.
Seniors are far more likely to become gravely ill from Covid-19 and ultimately die than kids or younger adults. People over 65 have made up nearly 80% of the pandemic’s overall death toll in the United States, and many nursing homes and long-term care facilities have grappled with brutal outbreaks, leaving over 100,000 long-term care residents dead. As a result, state governments let seniors line up for vaccines before younger age groups, and in states like Vermont and Pennsylvania, more than 90% of elderly people are partially vaccinated
It’s important to also note that many older adults were active and engaged throughout the pandemic, and for some, that took stepping out of their comfort zone, technologically speaking.
Public-health researchers caution the pandemic is far from over, especially as newly reported U.S. cases plateau after a steep decline and more infectious coronavirus variants spread. But as this happens, the Americans who have long faced the highest mortality risk are increasingly protected.
Old social networks and activities will need to be reset, which could lead to feelings of anxiety for many older adults.
This mirrors a trend across rural America where overall COVID vaccination rates continue to lag about 10% lower than in cities. Yet seniors in rural areas tend to be a holdout with vaccination rates higher than the national average. In towns like Baker City, many are eager to get their boosters as the shots become more widely available this week.
A critical factor that makes the elderly more susceptible to infectious diseases is what immunologists call “immunosenescence”: the decline in the immune system’s functionality as people age. This is also associated with an increase in the incidence of inflammatory diseases, because an elderly body tends to be in a state of chronic low-grade inflammation. This “inflamm-aging” is one reason why older people have tendencies to develop more severe forms of respiratory diseases.
Older people and people with chronic illness are at greater risk, and how we respond to the threat affects everyone.
Older unvaccinated adults are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.
The global pandemic and the ensuing safety measures have had a major (mostly unfavorable) impact on the everyday lives of large parts of the population. From a gerontologists perspective, this is especially true for older people, whose life has been subjected to multiple burdens over the past year.