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Review ArticleDOI Number : 10.36811/ijbm.2022.110026Article Views : 0Article Downloads : 2

Effects of COVID-19 on Elderly People

Siniša Franji*

Independent Researcher

*Corresponding Author: Siniša Franji*, Independent Researcher; Email: [email protected]

Article Information

Aritcle Type: Review Article

Citation: Siniša Franji?. 2022. Effects of COVID-19 on Elderly People. Int J Biol Med. 4: 11-18.

Copyright: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright © 2022; Siniša Franji?

Publication history:

Received date: 09 June, 2022
Accepted date: 16 June, 2022
Published date: 18 June, 2022


The coronavirus pandemic is accompanied by unprecedented social exclusion of the elderly, which is occasionally accompanied by a revival of prejudices about aging and the elderly, which at the same time increases the health risks of the elderly that are not directly related to the pandemic. Older people are considered to be the most vulnerable population age group due to the effects of COVID-19 virus infection on their health as many also have chronic diseases as well as due to the consequences of social distancing, especially those living alone. The combination of all these risks can negatively affect the mental health of an individual, due to the experienced stress, fear, anxiety and loneliness, can increase the health problems of the elderly and impair their quality of life and well-being.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Infection; Ageing; Elderly


Although ageism might also additionally relate to the younger as well, and in such cases it is called “adultism,” from the angle of social problems ageism is specifically associated with older adults [1]. There are very sturdy bad attitudes closer to older adults, prejudices in opposition to them and stereotypes approximately them in society. They are primarily based totally at the organic variety of human beings that's related with the system of aging. Moreover, they're associated with the competences and needs of human beings relying on their chronological age. As a end result, the calendar age is used to split organizations whose get right of entry to to numerous social sources is situation to systematic control. Positive ageism entails attributing positive features to older adults.

Qualities together with kindness or expertise end result from their lifelong experience. Older age is a thing which might also additionally make contributions to greater lenient remedy in court, deeper know-how with regards to shortcomings and organizing exclusive styles of assist which can be to be had after accomplishing a positive age. Negative ageism is a shape of exclusion and can be expressed withinside the social rejection of older adults or in self-ageism. It can be located whilst older adults begin to agree with in those bad stereotypes. The internalization of stereotypes contributes to discrimination in opposition to older adults withinside the area of employment, medical care, institutional assist or even withinside the family.


The COVID-19 can infect human beings of every age [2]. According to the epidemiological image so far, the elderly and those with health complications (which include asthma, diabetes, heart disease) seem like extra vulnerable to the virus. Healthcare organizations recommend human beings of every age to take steps to guard themselves in opposition to the virus, basically through adhering to adequate hand hygiene and using precautionary measures withinside the occasion of coughing and sneezing.

The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is called COVID-19, which basically provides as a respiration contamination and can show up with different organ involvements [3]. Severity of disease varies, with threat for hospitalization and want for respiration aid being better in certain populations. Early records from the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, identified elderly sufferers and people with underlying cardiac disease as maximum threat. Now that there were over 85 million instances globally, extra information concerning disease manifestation and presentation is known.

The scientific spectrum of COVID-19 affected person shows varies widely, starting from asymptomatic contamination to extreme acute respiration failure with multisystem organ dysfunction. The common incubation period of COVID-19 is five days, such that the time from publicity to symptom onset will usually arise inside 1 week. The maximum not unusualplace signs and symptoms related to COVID-19 are fever (most common), cough without or with sputum, dyspnea, headache, myalgias, fatigue, anosmia, ageusia, and diarrhea. Less common, however different observed, signs and symptoms consist of abdominal pain and hemoptysis.

The earliest days of contamination generally tend to own constitutional signs and symptoms of fever, fatigue, headache, and muscles aches, starting as quickly as 2 days from exposure to virus [3]. The significant majority (80%) of these affected with COVID-19 could have moderate signs and symptoms and get better with out consequence. For others, the disease progresses in severity, and signs and symptoms of dyspnea may also seem inside 5–8 days after infection onset. Respiratory failure may also follow, related to worsening oxygenation and an average time to mechanical air flow among 9 and 12 days. In instances of extreme infection, presentation ought to expand past this window, with a few observational research noting time from onset of infection to respiration failure as past due as 14 days. Given the huge variety of infection spectrum, the ailment is split into classes primarily based totally on severity: asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, mild illness, moderate illness, severe illness, and critical illness.


The most important risk elements for COVID19 disease severity and death are age and comorbidities [4]. These are interwoven on account that the superiority of each chronic infection will increase with aging. More than 75% of older Americans have at the least chronic clinical situations—typically heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer—which account for -thirds of our every year mortality.

In the USA there was a striking correlation among COVID19 mortality and age, with threequarters of deaths taking place in the ones 65 years and older. The fatality price in older sufferers became especially alarming early withinside the pandemic. In the primary 72,000 cases from China, the general case fatality rate (CFR) became 2.3%, however it became 8% in the ones elderly 70– 79 years and 15% in those >79 years [4]. In Italy, the oldest country in Europe, the CFR in March and April 2020 became 7.2, and 51% of COVID infections have been in human beings >60 years, which include 19% in those >80 years. In the USA from February to March 16, 45% of COVID hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths have been amongst adults aged ≥65 years with the very best fatalities amongst people aged ≥85 years. Adults over age 65 years had a twenty-three-fold extra chance of dying from COVID in comparison to the ones <65>80 years. The UK OpenSAFELY take a look at tracked the chance elements related to 11,000 COVID-19 associated deaths in a registry of 17 million adult sufferers. This very huge take a look at reaffirmed the previous research demonstrating that age is the maximum outstanding COVID chance factor. People over the age of 80 had a twenty-fold improved mortality chance in comparison to 50–59-year olds.

Aging is related to a discount in natural killer cell activity and a blunted macrophage reaction. As we age, there are reduced naïve T cells and a discounted cappotential to transform the ones T cells to reminiscence cells. This immunosenescence triggers a hyperactivation of inflammatory cells. Such age-related hyperactivity, termed “inflammaging,” has been implicated withinside the “cytokine storm” characteristic of severe COVID infections.


Ageism can be resulting from numerous determinants of functioning of people and society [1]. Terror control principle offers an reason for the motives and reasons of ageism in the direction of old age groups many of the younger, center aged groups and young-old age group. In this case, ageism is attached with the chance of death, the chance of animality, and the chance of insignifcance. Prejudice and intolerance are primarily based totally on the fear of death. An incapacity to peacefully coexist with others effects from an incapacity to percentage one’s worldview with those who do now no longer believe us and do now no longer buffer our tension. Stereotype embodiment principle explains the roots of ageism many of the youngold and old-old age groups. Negative attitudes and stereotypes approximately older adults which an man or woman has internalized in the course of their existence are regularly unconsciously embodied in the course of old age, while social identification principle is attached with interpersonal and intergroup behaviors. Interpersonal conduct is decided with the aid of using man or woman traits and interpersonal relationships. Intergroup conduct is decided with the aid of using respective club in numerous social groups or categories. The social conduct of people combines those aspects. Subordinate and minority companies in society regularly generally tend to internalize a social assessment of themselves as “second class,” which results in self-ageism.

It appears that the foundation of ageism ought to now no longer be looked for handiest withinside the mental and sociological area. Personal dignity performs a specially critical function on this matter. Personal dignity and human rights arising from it have been confrmed with the aid of using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Preamble to the Declaration states: “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the same and inalienable rights of all individuals of the human own circle of relatives is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace withinside the international”. Unfortunately, there are numerous elements which may also undermine non-public dignity of older adults. As a end result, they experience exclusion.

Mental Health

During the existing COVID-19 pandemic, because of their much less effcient immune system and not unusualplace age-related primary illnesses, older human beings are taken into consideration the institution of excessive risk [5]. Based at the statistics, we realize that older people struggle more with the contamination, the mortality rate on this institution is likewise better and quantities as much as 3.6% amongst human beings elderly 60–67 while for human beings aged 80+ it grows to 18%. This may also growth the pandemic-related tension and strain amongst older citizens. Other critical trouble is the outcomes of quarantine; social distancing strengthen by the pandemic may also cause extra loneliness, improved feel of helplessness, anxiety and depression. It may raise passivity, disturb day by day conduct and cause the growth in undesired behaviours, for instance medicine or alcohol abuse. Older people who are much less acquainted with current virtual technology may also struggle with the outcomes of the lockdown and enjoy greater bad infuence of the pandemic on their mental health than the relaxation of the populace. However, research carried out in extraordinary international areas aren't coherent. Some confrm the noted threats, for instance residents of retirement homes in France, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease pronounced better stages of depression and anxiety in the course of the COVID-19 disaster than earlier than it. A huge percent of Americans pronounced stress and loneliness, an improved feel of isolation and alternate in day by day conduct in the course of lockdown. In China, older people aged 60 and greater had extra issues with melancholy and tension, girls greater regularly than men. German research display that older adults consider the risk of COVID-19 as decrease than more youthful human beings and use the approach of focusing at the trouble with the aid of using following professional advices and behaving for this reason to the scenario. Reports with the aid of using German researchers from earlier than the pandemic indicated decrease strain stage amongst older in place of more youthful citizens. Older adults in Spain confirmed much less emotional tension in reference to COVID-19 than more youthful respondents and there have been no variations among men and women. In Austrian research, for each studied component of mental health (depression, anxiety, stress, quality of sleep) the younger group of adults (<35 years) yielded the worst effects even as the older people, aged 65 and greater, received the very best results. Older human beings deal higher with the pandemic than more youthful ones. Thus, the purpose of the studies supplied herein became to identify emotional responses and techniques of managing strain amongst older human beings.


Most of the intense signs and symptoms in COVID-19 including ARDS arise due to the overactivity of our very own immune systems [6]. Infiltration of proinflammatory cells withinside the lung tissue results in a large amount of lung damage. In youngsters, in particular in neonates, the immune system isn't but absolutely advanced and is taken into consideration to be evolving or ‘immature’ at that stage which will be the cause why youngsters are quite much less probable to fall sufferer to the immune-mediated segment 2 of the disease. Moreover, it has additionally been pronounced that the range of T-cells (CD4+ and CD8+) withinside the immune system have been normally lots decrease in adults even as youngsters have proven a relative abun dance of those cells which even withinside the absence of a completely advanced innate immune system can assist in tackling the contamination. Moreover, youngsters additionally have lots decrease stages of neutrophils, proinflammatory cytokines, and a better stage of immunomodulatory cells, defensive them from intense contamination. Children are normally greater resilient on the subject of sicknesses and their lungs are higher able to recuperating and restoration than adults.

Althoug children are spared from severe lung disease, they're now no longer completely spared from different consequences of the virus [6]. There have been reviews in which youngsters had commenced growing late-onset signs and symptoms in reaction to the virus, now known as Pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS). This syndrome is a end result of post-contamination spike withinside the immune system of youngsters and stocks lots resemblance to Kawasaki disease with signs and symptoms including fever, inflammatory shock, rashes, conjunctivitis arterial damage (We now realize that SARS-CoV-2 can break endothelial cells in adults inflicting irritation and extra clotting, main to cardiac complications). In addition, it might be wrong to indicate that youngsters are spared from disease. Children are in truth as lots a sufferer of COVID-19 as any person and ought to observe the identical precautions as older adults.


Coronavirus is an epidemic that has brought on a international of constant change, time pressure, and deepening social variety to slow down and stop overnight [7]. People began to view the sector from the angle of threat and the accompanying feel of loneliness and disorientation. Grandparents elevating their grandchildren located themselves in a specially diffcult scenario. In a duration of ongoing social isolation, they struggled with the outcomes of being reduce off from the encircling international, however additionally with fears resulting, amongst others, from the truth that they, as older human beings, are maximum at chance from the coronavirus. Various issues arose with the day by day adjustments of their lives: duties to be completed and questions on the destiny and destiny in their grandchildren in a scenario in which their grandparents’ fitness and existence have been at risk. Under those occasions the primary human wishes of the grandchildren’s guardians, including a feel of balance and security, had been signifcantly impaired. In the face of an surprising chance that brought on some other alternate of their day by day lives (the preceding one befell once they took over the care in their grandchildren), issues associated with the grandparents’ feel of identification intensifed. It is obvious that during the sort of scenario, the very difference among roles (being each a grandparent and a parent) can bring about complicated experiences. It could be really well worth thinking about what occurs while grandparents interact in teaching the younger technology and yet again tackle the jobs which can be a repetition of in advance levels in their lives. Role identification principle, on the alternative hand, shows that having numerous identities which can be associated with every different via shared which means and simultaneous overall performance may also purpose a few dissonance. In the case of grandparents elevating their grandchildren, the dissonance may be created with the aid of using the question: “who am I actually? A grandparent or a parent again?” How, then, do they understand their existence scenario and what diffculties do older human beings come across withinside the context of “being” a parent again?

One of the important thing elements contributing to the diffculties grandparents face in elevating their grandchildren can be the expectancies set for them, due to the fact “age adjustments now no longer only the roles predicted of human beings, however additionally the approaches wherein they're predicted to play them” [7]. Therefore, a more youthful determine has extra social consent for a positive degree of freedom in subjects of upbringing, because of the social notion of younger human beings as much less capable and inexperienced. On the other hand, it's miles predicted of grandparents that, primarily based totally on their preceding enjoy, they may effortlessly address the “new, but old” function of a determine. Social expectancies end up in particular critical while we strive to recognize the intricacies of getting to conform to new situations withinside the context of the demanding situations and threats that stand up from main activities we're managing at any given time, including the coronavirus pandemic. From the instant they take over the care in their grandchildren, grandparents are continuously stuck up in numerous issues and duties to be accomplished. The second once they have become guardians in their grandchildren has modified the route in their lives, inflicting a profound shift, which handiest intensifes in a scenario of compelled isolation.

Urban Factors

The urban elements recognized withinside the unfold of the pandemic in Wuhan have been the in depth city growth, hospitals, buying centres, blended uses, the populace getting older index and roads, amongst others, which evidenced the want for making plans techniques centered on knowledge the transmission of infectious sicknesses in urban settings [8]. Physical distancing as a health measure does now no longer suggest social distancing, that's why it shows the proximity argument primarily based totally at the dichotomy of “being withinside the region” and “being connected”. The city density permits severa complicated social and monetary interactions, that are related to prosperity with the aid of using being near paintings centres and services. Communities show off demographic and socioeconomic variations related to vulnerability. Urban density as a key metric of sustainability, may be described as the share of the entire range of population dwelling inside a delimited urban footprint of a town. Research shows that population of a compact town with a better city density may be in the direction of others, as a way to make transferring from one region to some other greater efficient and sustainable. Some signs to measure urban density are the urban footprint, the entire populace, residential occupancy, parcel coverage, the peak of the buildings, the performance of the plants, the occupancy stage, and those in step with living unit. Studies have found out some of blessings of compactness: greater productivity; decrease value public services; extra social and monetary mobility, in addition to variety; improved use of public shipping; decrease electricity use and emissions; and improved health and wellbeing.

The current pandemic shows investigating how connectivity affects unfold greater than density, on account that huge metropolitan regions are carefully related via financial, social and transport relationships, so dense regions may also have higher get entry to to care centers and in addition implementation of distancing guidelines and practices. The maximum marginalized populations are visible to be much more likely to get ill and die from being uncovered to unequal situations. In phrases of community, density isn't associated with contamination prices and is inversely associated with mortality rates.


Pandemic control measures have driven economies round the sector all at once into recession even as emptying authorities coffers at astounding prices [9]. Global debt incurred due to COVID-19 has been envisioned at $10 trillion in 2020, growing as much as $30 trillion with the aid of using 2023. Statistics alone can not capture the human toll of the crisis. Families have been separated from cherished ones who died alone. One survivor, who have been hospitalized withinside the UK for several weeks, stated that “I must have seen at the least 8 human beings die…… And the fear in human beings’s eyes is shocking. …. It’s like a nightmare with your eyes open”. A doctor in New York defined how his hospital was “… just getting destroyed. It’s very, very gruesome…. I even have one face shield that I have to keep rewashing after seeing each patient…It’s quite common to see [staff] crying withinside the hallway… The morale amongst ER human beings is extraordinarily low. People are anxious, making morbid jokes about dying”.

People suffered in lots of different approaches [9]. They feared that they could lose their activity or the commercial enterprise that they'd simply started. Young human beings puzzled whether or not they could ever get a activity. Many sufferers skilled setbacks of their remedy plans because the hospitals have been stuffed and non-urgent care became constrained or cancelled. Kids were given in the back of in school. People have been lonely, as they couldn't see their cherished ones or exit and make new friends.

The effect of COVID-19 became now no longer similarly distributed. The ‘Great Pestilence’ of our instances uncovered fragilities in healthcare structures, monetary structures, and the fabric of social and institutional trust. The toll of the coronavirus deepened social fault lines of race, class, age and place. And, as occurs in nearly each disaster, COVID-19 additionally produced ‘winners’-human beings and businesses that have been granted unsuspected possibilities and made the maximum of it.

The crisis has found out engrained ageism and age-stereotyping on this society [10]. Attitudes and moves in reaction to this pandemic had been attributed to decreased challenge approximately and price attributed to older human beings: nations have been sluggish to reply due to the fact ONLY old people have been at risk; treatment and mitigation protocols had been greater safely advanced for youngsters and adolescents in positive hospitals; and saving the economic system can be greater critical than saving those older lives. We have heard an old phrase “thinning the herd” and the brand new phrase “#boomerremover.” Fears of the want to ration sources in hospitals led the Office for Civil Rights to trouble a announcement to prevent lifesaving hospital therapy from being administered on the basis of age.

The appearance of the coronavirus has positioned the difficulty of pandemic manage and saving human lives withinside the first place [11]. In parallel with the crisis, the outcomes for the economic system commenced to be taken into consideration. As the health crisis nears its end, monetary problems are getting greater not unusualplace. These are extraordinarily critical problems due to the fact all sectors are interconnected, so shocks are transferred from one quarter to others. What wishes to be carried out now? From a health factor of view, it's miles vital to discover an powerful vaccine and an powerful medicament in order to save you the unfold of the contamination. From the monetary component of view, it's miles vital to put together the quality feasible measures of monetary coverage and begin with their implementation as quickly as feasible.

Healthy Ageing

Lack of pandemic preparedness had an immediate bearing at the elderly due to their inclined health situations [12]. COVID-19 additionally signalled the failure of grand coverage discourses on older person care which have been being advanced during the last few decades, albeit slowly. Most superior nations, in tune with worldwide guidelines, have been looking to meet the health needs of the getting older populace with the aid of using enhancing public health infrastructure. Measures have been being geared toward gearing health structures in the direction of populations and complete groups, emphasizing on prevention of chronic diseases, adopting health promotion paradigms, devising interventions primarily based totally on environment, human behaviour and life-style modifications, enhancing nutrition and skills in policy improvement and assessment. Universal access to healthcare became brought to the listing of ambitious goals.

The WHO’s (World Health Organization) internet site is an implementing area addressing the concerns of an ageing population. Building on in advance worldwide policy instruments— the MIPAA (Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing) and Active Ageing: A Policy Framework, WHO developed a fresh conceptualization of Healthy Ageing as being lots greater than the absence of disease [12]. It supplied a complete steering to nations and development partners on a way to foster the functional ability of older human beings which became taken into consideration to include of intrinsic capacities, applicable environmental traits and the interplay among them. Healthy Ageing emphasised the want for motion throughout a couple of sectors permitting older human beings to stay a resource to their families, communities and economies. The key concerns in Healthy Ageing have been spotting variety and stopping inequity. It confused the want to apprehend that a huge percentage of variety in potential and situation found in older age is the end result of environments that are formed with the aid of using elements including own circle of relatives background, sex, ethnicity, stage of training and economic sources. WHO’s paintings approach on getting older for 2016–2030 set forth 5 targets to achieve those goals. These covered a name for nations to decide to motion to expand agepleasant environments; align health structures to the wishes of the older populations; and to expand sustainable and equitable structures of LTC (long-time period care). It additionally emphasised at the significance of progressed data, size and studies and related to older human beings in all choices that challenge them.


According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately one billion people over the age of 60 in the world, and further forecasts indicate an increase in the number of elderly people (over 65) to two billion by 2050. The share of older people in the world is increasing, so it is becoming a global trend that is increasingly changing social and economic relations. Population aging in the 21st century is becoming a public health priority because the elderly need to be able to live as long as possible in good health. A functionally fit and healthy older person can be a useful member of the community and have the potential to transfer skills, abilities and work experience to a younger age. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has led to major changes around the world, and especially the elderly are at greater risk. Therefore, program and public health interventions are aimed at raising awareness of the increased risks and special needs of the elderly. Of great importance is the contribution of the elderly in maintaining their own health and active contribution in dealing with all phases of the pandemic.


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