Oregon Jewish Life: Older Individuals and COVID-19
Oregon Jewish Life recently interviewed Sonja Rosen, MD, chief of Geriatric Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, about the impacts of COVID-19 on older adults.
The magazine asked Rosen to explain why seniors are so vulnerable to the disease. She explained that it has to do with immunity.
“With aging, the body produces fewer immune cells, including white blood cells,” Rosen said. “Older people are essentially somewhat immunocompromised, as the fewer immune cells also don’t communicate as well with each other.”
This applies to anyone age 65 or older, even if they are otherwise healthy. "It takes longer to react to harmful germs and healing can be slowed,” Rosen told the magazine.
Even though adults 65 and older may be stuck at home, Rosen said that shouldn't stop them from exercising or even socializing with the help of technology. If they are not tech savvy, now may be a good time to ask a family member for help over the phone.
“There are a lot of video and online activities, including exercise classes,” said Rosen. “Try also to stay socially connected from home, calling your friends and family and using a video chat or FaceTime if you can."
Rosen suggests that older adults try online programs that actually combine exercise and socializing, such as Cedars-Sinai's Leveraging Exercise to Age in Place (LEAP) classes. Supported by a three-year grant from the AARP Foundation, LEAP courses bring older adults together—now over Zoom — for group workouts. The program is part of a study that aims to help prevent falls and physical inactivity among older adults, while fighting social isolation.
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