Message from our CSO
We are faced with special circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic which are affecting this vulnerable population to a great extend.COVID-19, Coronavirus Disease 2019, is an infection caused by the virus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the same category of viruses as SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), it is s a newly identified pathogen that was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and shown to be highly contagious prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
COVID-19 a double threat for our elderly:
Older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementia have an even higher risk than the general elderly population of getting infected and spreading infection (due to behavioral challenges) and experiencing significant adverse outcomes once becoming ill with the novel coronavirus.
Senior and memory care facilities have had to modify their regulations to reduce the chance of infection among their residents and staff. These have included banning visitors as well as prohibiting group activities all of which have evolved into unprecedented social isolation. The result has been increasing despair and anxiety among residents with deteriorating physical as well as mental health status.
The effects of social isolation of residents in hospitals and care facilities have been reported to contribute to a "tsunami of dementia" post-pandemic (Drs. Halloway and James). Furthermore, these researchers have described the negative effects of COVID-19 on the brain of older adults needing critical care causing a rise in dementia (in the form of delirium in short term and cognitive dysfunction in the long term).
We need to focus on health behaviors and activities for 1) protecting those with Dementia and 2) preventing the new rise in dementia post-COVID-19 infection in older adults.
Adults 65 and older make up just 16% of the U.S. population but have comprised the majority (80%) of the nation's COVID-19 deaths, according to the CDC.
In the last few months, tremendous progress has been made in vaccinating our most vulnerable population. As of April 26, 2021, 68% of Americans 65 and older are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations).
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program has efficiently delivered Covid-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities. The efforts continue to get more numbers of the at risk population vaccinated particularly those residing at home.
I urge all patients and families affected by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia to get vaccinated, in accordance with their health care provider's recommendation!
source of information for diagram: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html