The immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic has most people focused on current health and safety recommendations. While it’s important to attend to the “here and now,” we all need to consider the longer-term effects of this pandemic. Every American has been affected by COVID-19, but it’s clear that older Americans are feeling the biggest impact.
Not only has COVID-19 had the highest mortality rate in the population of people 65 and older, it has fundamentally changed the way older people live their daily lives.
Challenges and Opportunities in a Pandemic
Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri recently shared an insightful list outlining both challenges and potential opportunities for older Americans in this pandemic. Challenges include:
- Delay or disruption in health care and social services
- Emotional effects due to increased anxiety and isolation
- Increased health vulnerabilities in the future (for those who have recovered from COVID-19)
- The financial impact on retirement savings
- Difficulty re-entering the workforce
- Stronger trends of ageism, both internally and externally
- Higher risk of economic and physical challenges for older adults of a lower socioeconomic status and older adults who are people of color
At the same time, older adults can experience opportunities from this pandemic, such as:
- Improved technology skills
- Stronger family relationships
- Greater societal focus on fighting social isolation
- Higher respect for time management and self-care
- Increased awareness about the importance of legal documents (such as advance directives)
- More societal interest to in improving care and services for older adults
Resources for Staying Connected
How can we support older adults in these uncertain times and help mitigate the negative long-term effects of the pandemic? Click here to access important resources to help people stay connected and avoid social isolation. San Diego County has a variety of support services including online activities, digital education sessions, support groups, and Zoom tutorials.
We don’t know exactly what the future will hold, but our focus remains the same: every person needs access to support and resources for their physical and mental health. At Windward Life Care, our team is committed to supporting older adults and their families in finding the best services for their individual needs. Contact us today to learn more.