COVID-19 Guidance for Older Adults
Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
As of May 1, 2021, 82% of adults aged 65 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The number of COVID-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and deaths declined more in older adults, who had higher vaccination coverage, than in younger adults, who had lower coverage. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 8, 2021.
If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adults 65 and older who received both doses of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines showed a 94% reduced risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization. An evaluation was conducted at 24 hospitals in 14 states under real-world conditions, January – March 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 28, 2021.
Adult Day Service Centers (ADSCs), also known as adults day services or adult day care, provide social or health services to adults 65 and older living in communities and to adults of any age living with disability. CDC has developed guidance for administrators, staff, and volunteers at these centers. Participants (adults who attend adult day service centers) and their caregivers can also take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at ADSC facilities and at home.
Adult Day Service Centers (ADSCs) administrators and staff can help protect themselves and program participants (that is, adults attending ADSCs) from COVID-19 by promoting and engaging in preventive behaviors that reduce spread and maintain healthy operations and environments at ADSC facilities.
The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. This is why CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older are one of the first groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19.
- Tips for how to get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Search vaccine providers near youexternal icon
- Vaccine considerations for people with allergies
- Vaccine considerations for people with underlying medical conditions
- UPDATED! Recommendations for visiting long-term care facilities
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidance for visitationsexternal icon
Rates of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff members increased during June and July 2020 and again in November. Trends in reported cases of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and staff members were similar to trends in incidence of COVID-19 in surrounding communities. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 9, 20121.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are often asked, “How are you feeling?” but this has been a difficult time lately, and emotions can be complex. Whatever you’re feeling right now, starting a conversation with friends, neighbors, and loved ones about your concerns can relieve stress and promote resilience. Learn how to start the conversation, find tools, resources, and inspiration all provided by the CDC Foundation, HowRightNow.orgexternal icon
The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Severe illness means that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, a ventilator to help them breathe, or may even die. Here’s how to reduce your risk and what to do if you get sick.
An analysis of more than 106,000 patients who survived COVID-19 showed that 9% (9,504) were readmitted to the same hospital within 2 months of discharge, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Nov. 9, 2020. The odds of hospital readmission increased with age and the presence of 5 chronic health conditions: COPD, heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity.
An analysis of more than 114,000 COVID-19 associated deaths during May – August 2020, found that 78% of the people who died were aged 65 and older, and 53% were male; 51% were White, 24% were Hispanic, and nearly 19% were Black. COVID-19 remains a major public health concern regardless of age or race and ethnicity. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Oct. 16, 2020.
An estimated 41% of U.S. adults reported avoiding medical care because of concerns about COVID-19, including 12% who avoided urgent or emergency care, and 32% who avoided routine care. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, people who experience a medical emergency should seek medical care without delay. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 11, 2020.
The more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
The following guidance is provided to help owners, administrators, and operators of multifamily housing work together with residents, staff, and public health officials to create a safe living environment and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Parents and guardians should consider whether other household members are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions, when making decisions about which activities to resume. This tool is designed to help weigh the risks and benefits of available educational options.
American Indian/Alaska Native communities with multi-generational households or those in rural or tribal areas may experience unique challenges with social distancing, access to grocery stores, water, and local and tribal health services. Here are several steps individuals can take to keep your home and family safe.
Developing a care plan is vital during this crucial time in our country. A care plan is a form that summarizes a person’s health conditions and current treatments.
Some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness from COVID-19. Find out who may be at risk and how to protect yourself.
For people living in apartments, condominiums, student or faculty housing, national and state park staff housing, transitional housing, and domestic violence and abuse shelters.
This guidance was created to help owners, administrators, or operators of shared (also called “congregate”) housing facilities – working together with residents, staff, and public health officials – prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At least half of older adults living in long-term care facilities have cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The first step in caring for people living with dementia in any setting is to understand that changes in behavior (e.g., increased agitation, confusion, sudden sadness) or worsening symptoms of dementia should be evaluated because they can be an indication of worsening stress and anxiety as well as COVID-19 or other infections.
Given the risks that older adults face from both COVID-19 and dementia, CDC is providing this additional guidance to caregivers of adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to help them manage their patients’ physical and mental wellbeing as well as their own wellbeing.
Chronic health conditions such as diabetes increases your risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19. For more information, see COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Related to Underlying Medical Conditions.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and multiple U.S. territories; many having wide-spread community transmission. Given the high risk of spread once COVID-19 enters a long-term care facility (LTCF), facilities must act immediately to protect residents, families, and staff from serious illness, complications, and death.
- Key Strategies to Prepare for COVID-19 in Long Term Care Facilities
- Preparing for COVID-19: Long-term Care Facilities and Nursing Homes
- Preparedness Checklist for Facilities pdf icon[PDF – 1MB]
- Responding to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
- Testing for COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
- Caring for Patients with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19
COVID-19 guidance is available in American Sign Language on the CDC YouTube Channel. 20 videos are currently posted.
As you get older, your risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 increases.