As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, people 60 and older – a group disproportionately represented in deaths in Ontario – are seeking more support to avoid becoming infected, according to an advocate.
According to the province’s daily epidemiological report, 3,298 people aged 60 and over died as of November 19, or 96% of the total number of deaths in the province. Of these deaths, 2,193 were in long-term care homes.
Of the 3,298 deaths, 904 were aged 60 to 79 and 2,394 were 80 and over.
Although COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on people living in long-term care, the wide reach of the virus is also being felt by these people. who reside in the community.
About 92 percent of people aged 60 and over live in the community rather than in gatherings in Canada, said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, a national advocacy organization that “educates, empowers and mobilizes people on issues. that matter most to older Canadians. . “
Tamblyn Watts says concerns revolve around community transmission to people 60 and over as they go about their daily chores.
“I think what we are seeing is ageism in action, that there has been a feeling that everything is fine that the elderly are dying from COVID-19,” Tamblyn Watts said.
The more often people in this demographic need to enter the community, the more likely people at high risk are to make the “really terrible choice” between getting the things they need or staying home and avoiding contact. exterior, she said.
“Old people the second wave may have less support as people get used to living with COVID-19 more. So they have to go to the community in many cases to do things like shopping and buying medicine.
Community support is essential to keep older people protected, said Tamblyn Watts.
“Whether it’s increased support for the delivery of groceries, whether it’s additional community welfare checks, whether it’s making sure we’re supporting… home care unlike home care, older people need to be cared for where they are and not be exposed to the wider community as much as possible.
She highlighted podiatry, physiotherapy, nursing services and dialysis as procedures that could be widely supported for people at home instead of requiring people to leave their homes for treatment.
It takes “less hand wringing, fewer heartbroken professions and more action to make the lives of older people better and safer,” Tamblyn Watts said.
Tanya McKay, 83, said the threat of being infected with COVID-19 meant she had lost many of the joys she found before the pandemic alongside her husband, Nelson.
“Much of the fun is gone from our lives. We were always socially active, loved to travel, liked to entertain friends, liked to attend cultural events such as concerts and plays, ”McKay, who lives in Niagara Falls, told The Star. “All of this has been suspended.”
The pandemic has put a damper on motivation in daily life, McKay said. “We have more time and yet we seem to accomplish less. We have to mentally push ourselves. Sometimes we feel like “why bother?” She said.
She realizes the privilege she and Nelson enjoy: although there is an element of fear and disturbance, “we are very lucky compared to many others because we live in a house with a courtyard in a small one. town with easy access to beautiful countryside, ”McKay told me. “We are both in good health and have never had much trouble.”