Advocates say social isolation in long-term facilities could have deadly impact

Health News

SAVANNAH. Ga. (WSAV) – Forty percent of COVID-19 related deaths in the United States are being reported at long-term care facilities. It’s a percentage that has local health advocates demanding better protection for patients — including the staff at the Alzheimer’s Association.

They say 42 percent of people living in senior care have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Advocates are working to raise awareness on how certain  safety measures could have deadly impacts.

Countless facilities across the country and in Georgia, have isolated patients at in-care facilities to protect them from COVID-19, but now researchers say isolation could also have a lethal impact.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports social isolation can increase a person’s risk for premature death is linked to about a 50 percent increased risk for dementia. Advocates for the Alzheimer’s Association are working with state and national leaders to get facilities the resources they need in order to have rapid testing done for families.

They said this is the only solution to connecting patients with their loved ones and addressing the impacts of isolation.

WSAV spoke with a nurse who now volunteers with the organization. She said a healthy woman who had dementia recently died after only being in a memory care facility for one month.

“I cannot think of anything more devastating than someone that you love needing you, needing your presence, needing you to just hold their hand and be there with them and especially someone with dementia who doesn’t understand what’s happening, and they don’t understand this Facetime,” Donna Camacho said.

The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on people to join them as advocates. They have a free Why It Matters and Where to Start virtual event happening on Aug. 28 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. Click HERE to register or call 404-728-6068 to connect with the advocacy manager. 

Due to COVID-19, the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is happening virtually this year. You can join the walk wherever you are all you have to do is register.

You can even register a small team to join you in raising awareness for Alzheimer’s and dementia online HERE.

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