In this special episode of Off Your Rocker: A SeniorVu Podcast, host and SeniorVu Senior Vice President Valissa Smith speaks with Geriatrician, Dr. Jessica Kalender-Rich with The University of Kansas Health System.
Last spring, Dr. Kalender-Rich was appointed to join the federal Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes. Between April and September this task force investigated Covid cases within senior living and the unique challenges that came with it. We wanted to get her take on the vaccine and its distribution to the senior population.
I asked Dr. Kalender-Rich how important the vaccine was to the senior population. She shares plans to roll out the vaccine across the country to retirement communities and long-term care facilities and why, right behind healthcare workers, seniors need to be the next in the line. We talked about why we will continue to need to mask and social distance even after we’ve received the vaccine too.
There was another pandemic Dr. Kalender-Rich says she and colleagues were discussing before the coronavirus hit last spring – one that was exacerbated by COVID-19. Isolation and loneliness – two huge concerns for seniors and this pandemic has made it even worse. We discuss the health risks for seniors who are alone like possible physical and mental decline.
Some senior living communities, in particular some nursing homes, have suffered from outbreaks. BUT many of them have not…they’ve followed CDC protocol and have done a very good job of keeping their residents healthy. When weighing the isolation issue and that of how contagious this virus is, what’s the right answer? Moving to senior living or staying home alone? Hear what Dr. Kalender-Rich has to say about that.
Dr. Kalender-Rich also shares with us ways to continue to support our senior family members and get them active – both physically and mentally – while we get through these winter months.
Do you still have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Here are your top 9 vaccine questions answered.