Oped by Marcel Gemme
On December 10th, it was reported that an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted 17-4 in favor of recommending the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization for people aged 16 and older. It was a Christmas miracle, and a vaccine was being shipped to all corners of the United States. However, despite older people being more at risk and priority for a vaccine, it seemed that younger generations were more excited about the news.
Older adults faced disproportionately greater adverse effects from the pandemic, including more severe complications, higher mortality, and access to care. Yet, during this global pandemic, American seniors have been managing quite well, despite the higher mortality rate with the virus. The news of a vaccine was a small reassurance that something was being done to help.
According to an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, older adults tend to have lower stress reactivity, and in general, better emotional regulation and well-being than younger adults. Although, there was still concern about mental health among older adults who became isolated from family and friends due to poor state governance. The article’s viewpoint summarizes that older adults as a group were more resilient to the anxiety, depression, and stress-related mental health disorders caused by the pandemic.
It is important to note that many of these seniors have survived wars, poverty, growing up during a time where there was little money, and raising a family on a small income was normal. Countless seniors in the United States have overcome so much creating better lives for their families and laying the groundwork for generations to come. These individuals grew up with no social media or the internet and were not worried about views or likes. So much of the stress today comes from the constant access to media and news cycles through social media and legacy media.
It has been tragic that so many Governors in the nation have done such a poor job at safeguarding long-term care homes and nursing homes, where close to 40 percent of all deaths are linked, per a report in the New York Times. ECDOL cites close to 42 percent of all COVID deaths. However, seniors push forward and hold on to that spirit of life and embrace an often lost resilience forgotten by too many.
Regardless of where you stand with the pandemic and what has been occurring, the senior population has stood the tallest. The New Year will be bright and filled with hope for these Americans, and it is up to every other generation to follow suit. If you are having a tough time, look to someone older, reach out, and connect. Countless seniors are still stuck in situations where they are disconnected from loved ones. The New Year should be about reconnecting and recognizing the strength American seniors have shown throughout the pandemic.
Marcel Gemme focuses his attention on helping individuals find long-term Senior Care, he does this through his journalism, community outreach, and his website: Excellent Care, Decency, and Optimal Living.