Seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers will be among the first Americans vaccinated, following recommendations last week by a federal advisory panel. Older adults living at home will need to wait a while longer.Many uncertainties remain. Among them: What side effects can older adults anticipate and how often will these occur? Will the vaccines offer meaningful protection to seniors who are frail or have multiple chronic illnesses?Here’s a look at what’s known, what’s not and what lies ahead.
As the pandemic wreaks havoc on our mental and physical health, it is also quietly reshaping how Americans will face retirement and old age in the years to come.The virus is bringing sweeping change, mainly by “accelerating developments already under way,” says physician and entrepreneur Bill Thomas. For example, “isolation of older people has long been a problem, but Covid is focusing attention on the issue and adding urgency” to address it.
In this Wall Street Journal Article, writer Anne Tergesen reports on some of the effects that the COVID virus could have on aging and society. Among her findings:
- More will age at home.
- Older people will benefit from a technology boom.
- Lifespans will decline. (Though perhaps only for the short term)
- We will have a better handle on what we want to do with our time.
- We will plan for death.
- We will embrace healthier lifestyles.
- We need to save more to retire.
- The 401(k) will morph into a multipurpose account.
- We will work longer.
- Our views on aging will change.
Aliria Rosa Piedrahita de Villegas carried a rare genetic mutation that had all but guaranteed she would develop Alzheimer’s disease in her 40s. But only at age 72 did she experience the first symptoms of it.
Now researchers are studying Aliria’s donated brain to try and unlock the genetic secrets that may have delayed the disease’s onset.
Liz O’Donnell, founder of Working Daughter, a community for people balancing eldercare and career, and the author of Working Daughter: A Guide To Caring For your Aging Parents While Making A Living (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.) penned an article for the Harvard Business Review providing tips for those already in the sandwich generation, but now with the added challenge of working from home.
She offers four tips to help those working from home AND who now share space with spouses, children, and perhaps an aging parent.
- Set your parents up for success by establishing routines and clear communication where possible.
- Set boundaries both for them and yourself so that you can minimize or control the interruptions that shared work and home life will bring.
- Overcommunicate your situation with co-workers and managers. Chances are, they are in similar positions or there will be other co-workers who are as eldercare comes out of hiding and into the mainstream.
- Do not neglect your own self-care. Caregiver burnout was already a big deal even before COVID. For the working adult children of dependent parents, at least the office provided the odd respite from the chaos of home. Now that is gone for many, so self-care needs to be a priority.
For the full text of the article, see the link below.