What Is the Risk of Seniors with Dementia Getting COVID?

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“Deaths attributed to COVID-19 for those with dementia has been truly harrowing to see,” said Clayton Jacobs, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Pennsylvania Chapter.

ABC News 27’s recent article entitled “Ohio university study shows people with dementia are more likely to get COVID-19,” explains that there are many factors that play a role in the increased amount of deaths.

“Reduced access to physicians and health care, greater difficulty in managing those other health issues, disruption of steady routine,” Jacobs said.

A recent study by scientists at Case Western University in Ohio discovered that individuals with dementia are twice as likely to get COVID-19, when compared to those without the disease.

Dementia can make it difficult for people to remember safety protocols, such as wearing a mask and washing hands, they said.

Jacobs also commented that it is critical to keep the conversation going and try to relate what is happening now with a person’s past.

“Our older adults have been through other significant health issues and concerns and maybe not pandemic in the way we’re looking at it now, but they’ve navigated those things,” Jacobs said.

The Case Western University research also found that patients with vascular dementia had the highest risk of getting COVID-19.

Moreover, they saw that black people with dementia were more at risk for getting the virus.

In addition, people who reside in long-term care facilities were some of the most vulnerable at the beginning of the pandemic. The vaccine has helped, but Jacobs says there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We continue to push to ensure that frontline health care workers and those living and working in long-term care have access because ultimately, vaccinating residents and staff in these settings is the critical step,” Jacobs said.

Reference: ABC News 27 (March 8, 2021) “Ohio university study shows people with dementia are more likely to get COVID-19”

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