COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

Older adults are at particular risk for serious illness caused by COVID-19 and those 50 and older, particularly with multiple comorbidities, are at higher risk of dying if infected. GSA continues to advocate for its members and older adults as the pandemic continues to disrupt systems of care, research, and education. Use the GSA Connect Community on COVID-19 to share your insights with others and to post questions.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Many vaccines are in the process of being developed to prevent COVID-19. After healthcare workers and long-term care staff and residents, essential workers and older adults have been prioritized to receive the vaccine. GSA members can help build confidence in conversations with older adults about the vaccine, the providers administering the vaccine, and the process by which the vaccine has been developed. Several resources are included below to assist with those conversations.

GSA COVID-19 Task Force Resources

The GSA COVID-19 Task Force is monitoring the outbreak and will share resources as they are developed. The best source of information on current cases and guidance for healthcare professionals is the CDC website.

GSA Webinars

AGHE Information for Educators

GSA Journals

All of GSA journals have published multiple articles on the impact of the pandemic. To search for a specific topic, please visit the GSA Journals page. The following are special issues or virtual collections specific to COVID-19. 

COVID Conversations

How to Register for a COVID Conversation

  • Click the white “Login” button on the top right corner of the page.
  • Enter your GSA username and password.*
    • If you have forgotten your password, select “Forgot your password.”
    • If you do not have an account with GSA, you may create one.
  • Once logged in, click the white “My Account” button on the top right corner of the page.
  • Click “My GSA Dashboard” and then “Register for an Event” to begin the registration process.

*If you have previously been active with The Gerontological Society of America, you should have an existing account. If unsure, click “Forgot your password” to see if your e-mail address is in the system.

COVID Conversations Series, "Learning From the Pandemic — Implications for Gerontology"

What lessons does the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hold for gerontology? Do we need to reexamine our field in light of the pandemic? How much of the mortality caused by COVID-19 could we have prevented? To what extent could we have mitigated the mental health repercussions of the pandemic lockdown? Building on the work of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) GSA COVID-19 Task Force, the COVID Conversations series will examine the pandemic with these large questions in mind. GSA scientists who have published research on COVID will take up these questions and consider how bad the pandemic was for older adults (July), how the pandemic deepened health inequities for minority older adults (August), what worked and what didn’t work for older people in our response to the pandemic (September), and how well older people and LTC workforce adapted to the pandemic (October). The conversations, curated and moderated by Innovation in Aging Editor-in-Chief Steven Albert, will come together in a special session at the GSA 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting in November.

COVID Conversation #1: How bad was the pandemic for older adults? 

July 20, 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was a particular challenge to older adults. In 2020 during the period before vaccination, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death among people aged 85+ years and the third leading cause for people aged 75 to 84 years. Residents of long-term care facilities bore the brunt of these deaths, but community residents also died in intensive care units, lost important health and supportive services, and had their lives upended in almost every way. In this conversation, we examine the impact of the pandemic on older Americans, with a special focus on health and medical care.

Presented by:

  • Elizabeth (Betsy) White, APRN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, and Investigator, Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research at the Brown University School of Public Health
  • Andy Sharma, PhD, Public Policy Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Related articles and abstracts:

COVID Conversation #2: Did the pandemic deepen health inequities for minority older adults?

August 24, 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic exposed great health inequities in society, including disadvantages for minority older adults. Minority populations face an increased risk of transmission, severe disease, and death, for example hospitalization is close to three times higher for minority persons than it is for white persons sometimes as much as three times higher than for the white population. In this conversation, we examine differences in people’s risk for COVID-19 based on race and ethnicity. What happened and what can we learn to address disparities?

Presented by:

  • Omar Yaxmehen Bello-Chavolla, MD, PhD, Investigador en Ciencias Médicas, Instituto Nacional de Geriatría
  • Seung-won Emily Choi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Texas Tech University
  • Karen D. Lincoln, PhD, MSW, MA, FGSA, Associate Professor, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California

Related articles and abstracts:

COVID Conversation #3: What worked and what didn’t work for older people in our response to the pandemic?

September 28, 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is under control for older adults at the moment: more than 70% of people aged 65+ years have been vaccinated, and their risk of COVID-19 hospitalization is down by 94%. But the path to this extraordinary accomplishment was not easy and the fallout from the earlier pre-vaccine period is still emerging. In this conversation, we examine false steps and creative hacks in the path to protect older people during the worst phases of the pandemic.

Presented by:

  • Liat Ayalon, PhD, Professor, Deputy Director, Chair of the Retraining Master Degree Program, Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University
  • Brad A. Meisner, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health | York University, Centre for Aging Research & Education (YU-CARE)

Related articles and abstracts:

Covid Conversation #4: How well did older people and the caregiving workforce, formal and informal, adapt to the pandemic?

October 12, 2021

The long-term care workforce, severely neglected before the pandemic, faced extreme challenges in staffing, access to personal protective equipment, and guidance to protect older people from a highly transmissible, often fatal infectious disease. This workforce is predominantly female, minority, and low income. This conversation will examine how well older adults and caregivers, formal and informal, bore up during the worst of the pandemic. Allied topics include community-dwelling older adults, resilience, long-term care resident experience, risk perception, and social isolation.

Presented by:

  • Karen L. Fingerman, PhD, FGSA, Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences, School of Human Ecology, The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences
  • Heather Fuller, PhD, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Science, North Dakota State University

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