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More than 246,000 people in the U.S. have been killed by the coronavirus, leaving hundreds of thousands of others grieving. Judith Graham, author of KHN’s Navigating Aging column, hosted a discussion on these unprecedented losses and dealing with bereavement. She was joined by Holly Prigerson, co-director of the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and Diane Snyder-Cowan, leader of the bereavement professionals steering committee of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals.
As the coronavirus surges around the country, workers in nursing homes and assisted living centers are watching cases rise in long-term care facilities with a sense of dread. Many of these workers struggle with grief over the suffering they’ve witnessed.
With employees emotionally drained and residents suffering from loss, many nursing homes and assisted living centers are working with chaplains, social workers and mental health professionals to help people deal with the effects of the coronavirus.
Older adults are deliberating what to do as days and nights turn chilly and coronavirus cases rise across the country. Some are forming “bubbles” with small groups of friends who agree on pandemic precautions and will see one another in person. Others are planning to go it alone.
Seniors tend to have more serious symptoms than younger coronavirus patients, including the aftereffects of hospital-based delirium. Doctors recommend physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and cognitive rehabilitation.
These seniors use coping strategies to keep them socially active yet safe from the coronavirus.
More than 70,000 residents and staff members at nursing homes and assisted living facilities have died of COVID-19, and others are under strict rules designed to keep the disease from spreading. That has evoked concern that living in a communal facility could be dangerous.
Although the family patriarch did not face a life-threatening emergency, the episode was a reminder that you have to prepare for a real crisis.
New research suggests the pandemic’s deaths are taking an enormous toll on surviving family members and worrisome ripple effects may linger for years.
Older adults with the ability to use technology have more access to virtual social interactions and telehealth services, and more opportunities to secure essential supplies online. Those who don’t know how to use it or can’t afford it are at greater risk of social isolation, forgoing medical care and being without food or other necessary items.