A Message from Executive Director Karen Buck: COVID-19 is killing older Americans

The CDC has announced today that 80% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths to date are older people, 65 years of age and older. 80%. We already know that Coronavirus affects older people disproportionately and most harshly. They are at significantly higher risk for severe illness from the virus. Already often isolated and disenfranchised, millions living in poverty, older Americans need our attention and interventions more than ever before.

80% of U.S. Coronavirus deaths to date are people 65 years of age and older.

US Hospitalizations, ICU Admissions, and Deaths from COVID-19 February 12–March 16, 2020 (courtesy of the CDC)

Social distancing is recommended for us all, but especially for older people, who may have weakened immune systems and are more likely to have an underlying health condition, which exacerbates illness. Yet, isolation has its own devastating health impact. An AARP study compared the effects of prolonged isolation to those of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as recently noted in the New York Times. ‘I’m Really Isolated Now’: When Elders Have to Fight Coronavirus Alone

Isolation hurts, especially when you are older and alone.

We all can do something powerful for the older people in our lives, in our communities, upon whose shoulders we all stand. As all of our teams at SeniorLAW Center work remotely to continue our free legal services to seek justice for older people, we are intentionally reaching out to all of our clients individually during this crisis. Not just to update them on court closures, the Governor’s directives and their legal cases, but to check in, reduce isolation and discern their other holistic needs.

Pursue those conversations with the older folks in your life and community, and help discern those needs, be it healthy food, medications, health care access, secure housing, home repairs, scams, fraud, or exploitation, feeling safe, or simply the very basic human need of purpose and interaction. Ask them for their insights and counsel. This is likely not the first crisis they have lived through in their rich tapestry of experience and survival. They can likely help guide us forward.

If we can act before we lose them.

Written by Karen C. Buck, Esq., Executive Director

Read article posted on LinkedIn here.