U.S. Seniors Bearing Brunt of COVID Wave – Is Help Coming?U.S. Seniors Bearing Brunt of COVID Wave – Is Help Coming?Giphy GIFGiphy GIF

U.S. Seniors Bearing Brunt of COVID Wave – Is Help Coming?

Jan. 10, 2023 – It might appear that we’re back to some semblance of “normal” at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She and I both came down with COVID at the same time, a few days after Christmas of 2020,” her son Tim Estiloz says.
“I went in to wake her up for her breakfast, and she was just drenched, sopping wet – her bed clothes and her nightgown,” Tim says. Both Legula and Tim were swabbed for COVID-19 and tested positive.
But neither lost their sense of smell or taste or had respiratory challenges.
“It is all the more miraculous that she survived it at that age, and without even the benefit of the vaccine to get her through it,” he says.
Legula, who survived COVID-19, went on to have a heart attack and be diagnosed with breast cancer, all before spring 2020.
“She’s doing quite well. I think for a period of time, she was doing better than me.” She plays notes on the piano, ...
...likes to “dance” in her wheelchair, and catches a ball thrown from 3 or 4 feet away “each and every time.”
To summarize her pandemic experience, Legula “battled breast cancer, had radiation treatment, she fell once, she survived COVID, and she survived a heart attack,” Tim says.
“And now, God willing, in a few days she’ll celebrate her 106th.”
“We have this ongoing push among our members to increase booster acceptance rate among residents,” says Lisa Sanders, director of media relations at LeadingAge, a ...
...national association of nonprofit providers and aging services, including nursing homes, retirement community settings, and affordable housing for older adults.
One of the biggest misconceptions, she says, is “the thinking that the bivalent booster is not necessary.” In addition, ...
...ongoing education and access to vaccines remain important “because there is a lot of misinformation.”
“The messaging has to be clear: You need to get the bivalent booster,” Sanders says, “especially now after the holidays and [when] new variants are emerging.”
“Long-term care professionals have known since day one that older adults with chronic conditions are most vulnerable ...
...when it comes to this virus. They have been bedside to unspeakable tragedy these past 3 years,” Gifford says.
“Unfortunately, ageism has been on full display during this pandemic, as evidenced by long term-care facilities begging public health officials for resources to no avail in the beginning,” he says.
“While older adults are still most vulnerable, we have the tools to help protect them from serious illness and hospitalization. First ...
...and foremost, seniors need to stay up to date on their COVID vaccinations, which means getting the updated, bivalent booster.”
Kristen Knapp, senior director of strategy and communications for the association, says, “While the booster may not prevent infections, we know that it can help residents from becoming very sick or being hospitalized.”
COVID-19 vaccination is not a requirement for resident admission or staff employment. But Knapp says that, vaccinated or not, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to follow infection control protocols.
The initiative includes new enforcement guidance through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure ...
...nursing homes are offering updated COVID-19 vaccines as well as timely treatment to their residents and staff.
Shortly thereafter, LeadingAge joined forces with American Health Care Association to create an “All Hands on Deck” initiative to help achieve the White House goals. One strategy is to get hospitals more involved.
This is important, Sanders says, because about 90% of nursing home admissions involve people transferred from a hospital.
“We continue to monitor and prepare for anticipated surges, like this winter’s, and encourage everyone, including our residents and staff, to get their boosters,” Gifford says.
“There’s a human tendency to want to push it away and say, ‘oh it’s their problem.’.