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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

SFU’s Gerontology Research Centre shares research on seniors’ risk, response and resilience to COVID-19

June 15, 2020

COVID-19 poses significant increased risk to older adults. According to the World Health Organization, 95 per cent of COVID-19 deaths occurred in people age 60 and older. But the impact of COVID-19 goes beyond mortality rates. Deadly outbreaks in long-term care homes expose vulnerabilities in senior care communities, and physical distancing measures create barriers to seniors meeting their day-to-day needs while also exacerbating social isolation.

In response to the pandemic, SFU’s Gerontology Research Centre (GRC) shared its current and on-going research related to COVID-19. In the special report Risk, Response and Resilience In An Aging Covid-19 World, researchers outline how COVID-19 poses unique challenges in gerontology fields, including health care and community care systems, housing and homelessness, families, physical and mental health, death and dying, and ageism.

“The report reflects the nexus of positive and negative responses to these challenges, including innovation in basic and applied community-based research and development,” says Andrew Wister, Gerontology Research Centre director and SFU gerontology professor.

Articles in the report acknowledge seniors’ resilience and how past experiences have prepared them for the current pandemic. One article explains how some LGBTQ seniors developed coping mechanisms and how the pandemic reminds them of living through the HIV pandemic. Another article explains how physical distancing measures have led to innovative solutions to remotely connect seniors with family and change long-term care home logistics. In addition to research articles, the report includes commentary and perspectives from seniors.

Wister hopes the GRC Special Issue will generate further research, knowledge and program innovation and reform that will apply the expertise of the gerontology community and improve the lives of older adults facing the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Read the full report here.