From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the evidence shows that seniors are more vulnerable to catching the virus and to the ensuing deadly complications. Why is that? What is it that makes seniors more likely to contract COVID-19?
A recent article in The Washington Post suggests that our bodies response to infection changes as we age. In addition, pre-existing health conditions put people at a higher risk of contracting the virus, and seniors are most likely to have pre-existing conditions; they just seem to come with age.
Aging sees a steady decline in the efficacy of our immune systems.
Mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression are closely linked to the body’s immune system and many seniors struggle with these issues as well as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Is this another reason that seniors have been hit the hardest?
Many seniors living in long term care facilities are suffering from cognitive impairment.
They are often very mobile, and they spend a great deal of time strolling around the facility. This is generally beneficial for the individual as it maintains physical strength and decreases agitation. During COVID-19, most long term care facilities have resorted to keeping residents in their rooms as a safety precaution. This is disrupting routines, likely causing those with cognitive impairment to become more anxious, both of which can have a negative impact on those with dementia and other disabilities.
For information on COVID-19 resources available to seniors, visit this link . In our next blog, we will talk about how to increase social interaction for seniors and how to offset cognitive decline.