The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is causing untold hardship and while no one is immune, older adults (aged 65+) have been hit hardest by the pandemic because they are the most vulnerable to its effects and are marginalized by society. Older adults frequently experience isolation, depression, ageism, and financial exploitation. These challenges have been exacerbated by COVID-19 with the requirements for social distancing and quarantines and the proliferation of financial scams and false information. The result is that older adults are more lonely, depressed, fearful, and anxious. At the same time, COVID-19 has focused attention on these challenges through shared experiences and highlighted the imperative of addressing the difficulties faced by older people - offering some hope for progress. The paper reviews the literature available on the effects of COVID-19 on older adults and opportunities for improvement. It focuses on six distinct, but interrelated topics: loneliness and depression; physical health; ageism; misinformation; economic impact; and technology. There is a role for everyone in addressing the challenges. The public and private sectors need to work together to enact policies that eradicate the negative perception of older adults being unproductive and a burden to society and to fund additional research on the problems faced by the elderly and solutions required to improve care and support. Government must enhance the safety net for older adults, incentivize companies to hire older workers, and expand access to broadband by reducing the cost. Companies designing technology need to study the behaviors of older adults and build versatile and imaginative products that meet the needs of this vulnerable group. Finally, media companies and big tech firms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google must stop the dissemination of obviously false information and hold their organizations, journalists, reporters, and users to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
"The Implications of COVID-19 on Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 4, Article 13.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol4/iss1/13