“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. In Pennsylvania, there were nearly 2,000 more deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia in 2020 than compared to averages over the past five years, according to the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter. Unless a dementia patient is very carefully monitored by a loved one or caregiver, they are at greater risk, states Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law, LLC. Seniors with dementia and COVID can be a lethal combination.
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-maybe not pandemic in the way we’re looking at it now- but they’ve navigated those events,” 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 in reducing the risk of the virus,” Jacobs said.
Seniors with dementia and COVID risk make it imperative that estate planning is completed. If you have a loved one with dementia, make sure you have his or her estate in order. If you do not already have Power of Attorney documents in place, it will be necessary to get Guardianship and Conservatorship so that you can help in making important decisions. See an experienced estate planning attorney like the ones at Beck & Lenox Estate Planning & Elder Law.
Reference: ABC News 27 (March 8, 2021) “Ohio university study shows people with dementia are more likely to get COVID-19”