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COVID-19:Defense of the Older Adults


Older adults, 65 years and older, are at higher risk for severe illness. COVID-19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day.


What you can do


If you have a serious underlying medical condition:

  • Stay home if possible.

  • Wash your hands often.

  • Avoid close contact (6 feet, which is about two arm lengths) with people who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

  • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

  • Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick.

  • For more information on steps you can take to protect yourself, see CDC’s How to Protect Yourself


8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older


Among adults with confirmed COVID-19 reported in the U.S.:


  • Estimated percent requiring hospitalization

  • 31-70% of adults 85 years old and older

  • 31-59% of adults 65-84 years old

  • Estimated percent requiring admission to intensive care unit

  • 6-29% of adults 85 years old and older

  • 11-31% of adults 65-84 years old

  • Estimated percent who died

  • 10-27% of adults 85 years old and older

  • 4-11% of adults 65-84 years old


Stress and coping

Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis.

Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • 911

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)


Reference: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

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