Study Shows Covid-19 Impacts More than Nursing Homes When It Comes to Seniors

As the covid-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, many experts are gaining a better understanding that the pandemic left on older individuals, who are the demographic hit most devastatingly by Covid-19. New studies have provided some helpful insights. For example, data shows that older individuals residing in their own residences have faced an increased risk of passing away from covid-19, more than was previously understood. While nursing home fatalities received significant attention, a much larger number of adults passed away from covid while living outside of nursing homes.  


This new research tackles some important questions including what conditions place seniors at an elevated risk of passing away due to the coronavirus, the number of older individuals who might have died without the pandemic, and the number of “excess” deaths that are connected to the covid-19 pandemic. It’s already understood that older individuals were disproportionately impacted. New details about the vulnerabilities of the elderly, however, are illuminating while the number of covid cases increases again and unvaccinated people are still at an increased risk of covid-19. 


Details about the Study


The study, which appeared in Health Journals, in June 2021 by workers at the Department of Health and Human Services, assessed data for over 28 million individuals with traditional Medicare coverage from the winter to the fall of 2020. Data during this period was compared to data over the last several years. 


The study considers fatalities of people from covid-19 and confirms news stories that depicted the number of fatalities among older adults as being staggering. People who received Medicare and passed away from Covid-19 have been determined to have a death of over 17%,  which is more than six times the death rate for recipients of Medicare. 


Older individuals with dementia are believed to be particularly at risk of passing away or having serious complications from covid-19. For older individuals who were diagnosed with covid-19, the fatality rate was almost double the rate faced by individuals facing cognitive decline who were not impacted by covid-19. 


Most Elderly Who Passed Away from Covid Resided Outside of Nursing Facilities


The study reports that over 110,000 “excess deaths” occurred as the result of the virus during the period that was examined.  This number, however, is most likely lower than the actual number because many elderly individuals who passed away did not receive diagnostic or follow-up care for  covid-19. “Excess deaths” is a term used to encompass the  death count above the number of fatalities anticipated based on existing data. 40% of excess deaths were reported at nursing homes, but approximately 60% of these fatalities were seniors who resided at other types of locations. 


The Profound Impact on the Residents of Assisted Living Facilities


Little data addresses the effects of the covid-19 impact on the residents of assisted living facilities. A second study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that the death rate for people who resided at assisted living facilities in 2020 was 17% greater than in 2019. While not all states experienced the same types of community spread, among the states with the highest transmission of Covid-19 among communities, assisted living residences faced an increased death rate of 24%. 


Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney


The Covid-19 pandemic has created many unique challenges for elderly individuals. One of the best things to do if you are facing a complex estate planning issue is to contact a knowledgeable attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

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