Older adults who live with younger people, including those of working age, are at increased risk for COVID-19 mortality, according to a study in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.
Using Swedish population and death registries, researchers studied nearly 275,000 adults aged 70 or older in Stockholm. Roughly 3400 died between March and May 2020, 38% from COVID-19.
Those who lived with at least one person younger than 66 years had a 60% increased risk for COVID-19 death relative to those living with older people. In addition, those living in the most densely populated neighborhoods had a 70% higher risk than those in the least densely populated areas, and those living in care homes had over four times the risk of those in independent housing.
Of these 1,567 participants, 400 were assigned to two weekly sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT), 387 were assigned to moderate intensity continuous training (MICT), and 780 to follow the Norwegian guidelines for physical activity (control group), all for five years.
After five years, the overall mortality rate was 4.6% (72 participants).
The researchers found no difference in all cause mortality between the control group (4.7%, 37 participants) and combined HIIT and MICT group (4.5%, 35 participants).
They also found no differences in cardiovascular disease or cancer between the control group and the combined HIIT and MICT group.
Hundreds of Finlanders aged 75-80 were given a battery of physical and cognitive tests 30 years ago. The same tests were recently repeated, in 2017-2018, with Finlanders aged 75-80. The modern group showed substantial differences:
walking speeds .2-.4 meters per second faster
grip strengths 5%-25% stronger
knee extension strengths 20%-47% higher
better verbal fluency, reasoning, and working memory
This means that the modern group moves and thinks “younger.” “Performance measurements reflect one’s functional age,” says lead author Taina Rantanen, professor of gerontology and public health at the University of Jyväskylä.
And if you’re Covid obsessed like I am here you go:
I would not extrapolate the older age study findings to the general population. Clearly there are cultural, societal, dietary, climate and other differences in Finland that do not exist elsewhere. But at my age I’ll take good news about getting older anywhere I can find it.
Finland is different. They developed a real interesting rapid Covid-19 test.
Four Covid-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.
“With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we’re seeing that with COVID-19 as well,” said Dr. Camille Vaughan, section chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University.
Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.
“Before COVID-19, baby boomers” — those born after 1945 but before 1965 — “felt reassured that with all the benefits of modern medicine, they could live for years and years,” said Dr. Mehrdad Ayati, who teaches geriatric medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and advises the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. “What we never calculated was that a pandemic could totally change the dialogue.”
Falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged ≥65 years, who in 2014 experienced an estimated 29 million falls, resulting in 7 million fall-related injuries.
What is added by this report?
In 2018, 27.5% of adults aged ≥65 years reported at least one fall in the past year (35.6 million falls) and 10.2% reported a fall-related injury (8.4 million fall-related injuries). From 2012 to 2016, the percentages of these adults reporting a fall increased, and from 2016 to 2018, the percentages decreased.
Citation for this article: Moreland B, Kakara R, Henry A. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:875–881. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6927a5external icon.
Participants’ mean age was 81.5 years, 44.4% were women, and 10.5% were nonwhite. There were 266 deaths (8.8%) within 6 months. The final risk model included 15 variables, 4 of which were not included in prior risk models: hearing impairment, mobility impairment, weight loss, and lower patient-reported health status
Across the country, suicide rates have been on the rise, and that rise has struck the nation’s seniors particularly hard. Of the more than 47,000 suicides that took place in 2017, those 65 and up accounted for more than 8,500 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide, while adults 85 and older, regardless of gender, are the second most likely age group to die from suicide.
QuickStats: Death Rates for Motor Vehicle Traffic Injury, by Age Group — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2015 and 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:167. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6806a8
Underwriters! What age group should we be concerned about?