Oct. 11 Web Event: The Long Shadow of Covid: Older People and the Ongoing Pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over the lives of older adults and their family caregivers in the United States, even as many Americans resolve to move on and resume normal activities. Even President Joe Biden declared “the pandemic is over,” in a recent interview, a controversial statement that he later sought to clarify.

Millions of older adults have lost loved ones or suffered declines in their health during the pandemic. Many are struggling with ongoing grief or the disabling effects of long covid. And anxiety, depression, and social isolation remain ongoing threats to mental health.

Confusion about the current state of the pandemic remains rampant. Is it over? Are ongoing precautions warranted? Should older adults get boosters? Should they continue to wear masks, and under what circumstances? What kinds of social interactions are safe and which may not be? How can older adults and their family caregivers best protect themselves in the months ahead, including over the holidays?

KFF’s Kaiser Health News (KHN) and The John A. Hartford Foundation explored these questions and more during a live, 90-minute, interactive web event on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.

Judith Graham, KHN’s popular “Navigating Aging” columnist, will moderate the discussion among panelists with a wide range of expertise, including geriatric care, mental health care, social services, long covid, infectious disease, and academic research on older adults during covid.

Rani Snyder, Vice President, Program at The John A. Hartford Foundation will make introductory remarks.

On the panel:

Dr. Sharon Brangman is the distinguished service professor of Geriatrics Medicine at SUNY Upstate University Hospital. Her expertise includes care for older adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia and cultural competence for seniors of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Kathryn Haslanger runs JASA, one of New York City’s largest social service agencies, serving more than 40,000 older adults. She has focused her career on health access for elderly, disabled, and low-income people.

Jessica Kelley is a sociologist at Case Western Reserve University, with a focus on health disparities. She is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, which has published extensively on covid and older adults.

Dr. Eran Metzger is the head of geriatric psychiatry at Hebrew SeniorLife, which provides healthcare and housing services to seniors throughout the Boston metropolitan area and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Céline Gounder is an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist.  She is senior fellow and editor-at-large for public health at KHN.

Richard Gard was a lecturer in music at Yale before he was hospitalized in intensive care after contracting covid in March 2020. Now a long-covid patient, he has retired from teaching.

He was featured in this article by Judith Graham:  https://kffhealthnews.org/news/article/long-covid-symptoms-seniors/


KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation. KHN receives grant funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, among other sources, and retains full editorial control over its journalism.


The John A. Hartford Foundation

The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three areas of emphasis: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care.


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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.