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The pandemic hit everyone hard, but what implications and consequences has it had for the older generations?
Older adults have been hit hard by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Mortality data from Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service indicates a risk of mortality of 3.6% for people in their 60s, which increases to 8.0% and 14.8% for people in their 70s and over 80s. An age-related mortality study from China showed that patients of COVID-19 above aged 55 years had 3 times increased mortality.
Older individuals are much more likely to develop COVID-19 related complications. The increased mortality reflects the underlying biological, social, and psychological vulnerabilities faced by the older population. Elderly individuals are also disproportionately affected by social distancing policies and other restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, resulting in increased loneliness, social isolation, and loss of freedom and support networks.
Research suggests the confinement, isolation, and stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is linked to a worldwide increase in domestic violence and child abuse. Though less well-publicized, the COVID-19 crisis may also increase risks for older adults, including physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, as well as financial exploitation or neglect by caregivers.
“Elder mistreatment is a prevalent issue, and it’s been a problem for a long time,” says EDC public health researcher Kristin Lees-Haggerty. “COVID-19 is exacerbating the issue in many ways.”