Long COVID and older people

Victoria Mansell, Sally Hall Dykgraaf, Michael Kidd, Felicity Goodyear-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Long COVID is a poorly understood condition, with a wide spectrum of effects on multiple body systems and variable presentation in different individuals. Long COVID is of particular concern among older people (ie, aged 65 years or older), who are at greater risk than younger people of persisting symptoms associated with COVID-19. In addition, COVID-19 might trigger or exacerbate chronic conditions that occur commonly in older people, such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, neurodegenerative conditions, and functional decline. In addition, the disruptive effects of COVID-19 for older people should not be underestimated; lockdowns and other restrictions might have reduced the social interactions of older people, and they are also likely to have lost a spouse or loved one during the pandemic, which can contribute to mental and physical decline. COVID-19 vaccination appears to reduce the effects of long COVID, and older people, especially those living in aged care facilities, should remain up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Health-care staff should also consider long COVID in the differential diagnosis of relevant symptoms in older people, rather than assume increasing frailty, and should pursue early multidisciplinary assessment and management of persisting symptoms. Addressing physical, psychological, and functional sequelae will mitigate the effect of long COVID and improve the health and quality of life of older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e849-e854
Number of pages6
JournalThe Lancet Healthy Longevity
Volume3
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Long COVID
  • older people
  • chronic conditions
  • COVID-19 vaccination
  • Health care staff
  • quality of life

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