The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life globally through virus-related mortality and morbidity and the social and economic impacts of actions taken to stop the virus' spread. It became evident early on during the pandemic that older adults are especially vulnerable to morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, and the adverse consequences of strategies taken to mitigate its effects. While no more likely to become infected than younger populations, the risk for hospitalization and death rises considerably with age. Residents of long-term care facilities have been among the hardest hit. The pandemic has brought many facets of ageism to the fore. Community stay-at-home messages, lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and visitation restrictions contributed to a concomitant epidemic in social isolation and loneliness. Economic and social impacts have been dramatic; so too has been the disproportionate hardship experienced by members of racial and ethnic minority communities.
This book reports original empirical research and perspectives on the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the older adult population, and draws lessons for policy, research, and practice. Key issues pertaining to the impact of COVID-19 on older adults and their families, caregivers, and communities are highlighted. Four main areas are examined: personal experiences with COVID-19; long-term care system impacts; end-of-life care; and technology and innovation.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Aging & Social Policy.