The covid-19 pandemic casts a long shadow over the lives of older adults and their family caregivers in the United States, even as many people resolve to move on and resume normal activities. Even President Joe Biden declared “the pandemic is over” in a recent interview, a controversial statement he later sought to clarify.
Judith Graham, KHN’s “Navigating Aging” columnist, invited a panel of experts from across the country to talk candidly about the intractable challenges seniors face.
Millions of Americans have lost loved ones or suffered declines in their health during the pandemic. Many are struggling with ongoing grief or the disabling effects of long covid. And anxiety, depression, and social isolation remain ongoing threats to mental health.
Graham moderated a live event Oct. 11, hosted by KHN and The John A. Hartford Foundation.
The far-ranging conversation covered such topics as: Confusion about the current state of the pandemic remains rampant. Is it over? Are ongoing precautions warranted? Should older adults get boosters? Should they continue to wear masks, and under what circumstances? What kinds of social interactions are safe, and which may not be? How can older adults and their family caregivers best protect themselves in the months ahead, including over the holidays?
Watch the discussion to hear insights from Dr. Sharon Brangman, distinguished service professor of Geriatrics Medicine at State University of New York-Upstate University Hospital; Kathryn Haslanger, who runs the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, or JASA, one of New York City’s largest social service agencies; Jessica Kelley, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, which has published extensively on covid and older adults; Dr. Eran Metzger, head of geriatric psychiatry at Hebrew SeniorLife; Dr. Céline Gounder, an epidemiologist, specialist in infectious diseases, and a senior fellow and editor-at-large for public health at the KFF and KHN; and Richard Gard, a longtime lecturer in music at Yale who retired to focus on living with long covid.
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.