The Impact of COVID19 on elderly people in Australia - Aged Care Matters
COVID-19 has hit the world hard in more ways than one. The pandemic continues to rumble on whilst no vaccine has yet been created.
Social distancing and changes to the way we live have found to be the only way to manage this problem. Whilst not ideal, it is necessary in order to control the virus and allow us to live with some form of normality.
The biggest changes have been in free movement and travel, mass gatherings and also the way we work.
One of the points that isn’t being talked about however is the impact of coronavirus on the elderly population in their homes and care settings.
The world already gives plenty of challenges to this section of the population, but what else has changed?
Take a read of this article and let us explain.
COVID-19 and the elderly in Australia
All around the world – the impact of COVID has been highlighted within settings that care for the elderly. The main reasons being the amount of preventable deaths which occurred.
In the state of Victoria in August, 125 out of 147 deaths were related to residential care facilities. The reasons that have been stated for increased deaths in care settings are poor staff training, staff shortages and a lack of applying personal protective equipment. Elderly patients were also being discharged back in to care homes whilst infected with COVID which increased the infection rate.
These reasons have all been highlighted in the ANMF national aged care survey.
Measures are now improving within care settings including visitor bans, increased PPE and more stringent isolation following positive testing.
Delays to vital medical supplies
Because we are in the midst of a global pandemic with many different aspects of the world’s services being affected, this has had an impact on all medical care.
When the peak of the virus hit, hospitals and health care services were under extreme pressure. The supply chains were under pressure for medical equipment and medication.
Normal service for care were also stretched to their limit, meaning services changed in the short term.
The elderly population can commonly rely on regular deliveries of medication, equipment or care services. As attention was directed towards services that were considered vital and as supply chains slowed down under huge demand, this left a void in care for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
This was, and still is a worldwide issue which is changing slowly as the healthcare industry manages to recover and cope with the intense demand it has been under.
Reduced care services
Home visiting for anybody has been hugely impacted. Carers, home help and cleaning services all have faced some changes during this pandemic in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
For the disabled population who rely on these types of services for meals, cleaning, companionship and much more – this has really changed life in the short term.
Regular services such as cleaning, bed changing and meal delivery have had to adapt. The solution to most of this was reduced frequency of these services which as we know – isn’t ideal, especially where hygiene is concerned.
Elderly have been worst affected
The elderly population in general have probably been the most affected during this pandemic – due to them being more vulnerable to the virus.
Elderly disabled people are even more affected due to the fact they may have worse health than an able bodied person but also they may not be able to connect with the world as the younger generations can.
During lockdown – there was a rise in the use video call services such as Zoom which can be operated on mobiles, tablets and computers.
A large portion of the elderly disabled population may not be able to use these devices for many reasons which means their social interaction was drastically reduced – affecting mental health and general mood.
The effects of the pandemic continue to develop and change over time – the worst appears to be over and the world starts to recover. The disabled community have no doubt had a very challenging time physically and mentally.