Protecting older adults of Sri Lanka amid COVID-19

2020-06-05T16:47:44Z (GMT) by Keshini Madara Marasinghe

Older adults over 60 are at a higher risk of getting severely sick and dying from COVID–19. Sri Lanka has one of the fastest aging populations in South and South–East Asia. In addition to having a rapidly aging population, Sri Lanka is a developing country with limited resources to accommodate the older population that can be significantly affected by COVID–19. Statistics up to date shows that older adults are at a much higher risk of dying from COVID–19. Older adults being at a much higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID–19 has important implications for the way in which public health and clinical responses should be developed. These implications have been largely overlooked in both high and low and middle–income countries when providing guidance and implementing regulations, which can have a greater impact in low and middle–income countries. Preparedness of the healthcare systems to respond to the pandemic with a lack of facilities, resources (i.e., ventilators) and staff in the healthcare system, specifically in hospitals, intensive care units and long–term care homes is a concern that should be taken into consideration when clinical responses are developed. Challenges around protecting community–dwelling older adults who are caregivers to grandchildren, receiving informal care from children in the same household, living in living in remote areas, or living alone or dependent on others need to be taken into consideration when developing public health responses.