The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has been particularly fatal to older adults. Outbreaks in long-term care facilities like the one in Kirkland, Wash., drive home the extreme vulnerability of our nation’s elders.
The CDC’s March 28 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looked specifically at severe outcomes in older adults from COVID-19. The first preliminary reports from China found fatality rate was highest among patients over 60, particularly among those with underlying conditions; the rate was as high as 27% for those 85 and older. Continue reading
Sharon A. Levine, M.D., from the Boston Medical Center Geriatrics Section and a professor of medicine at Boston University, warned attendees of Health Journalism 2013 of the coming “tsunami” of aging baby boomers and older seniors who are living longer (over 19 million people over the age of 85 expected by 2050), stressing the need for an increased emphasis on senior care.
Levine said there is an extreme shortage of physicians specializing in geriatric care but described it as a “fabulous” job. She described working within a “village” of providers and caregivers focused on the physical and mental health needs of the aging population. Team goals include not only promoting health, but also preserving independence. Quality of life is a major issue for seniors who may suffer with chronic disease and disability for decades. Continue reading