Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus impacting the nearly 1.4 million patients residing in nursing homes and rehab facilities across the U.S. These individuals include the elderly and severely disabled people who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Coronavirus can lead to a respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. In a growing number of cases, it can be more severe than the flu, and dying from the virus is much more likely for older and health-compromised people.
There is a select group carrying characteristics that put them at higher risk of illness and death related to an infectious disease due to cognitive limitations, which impair their ability to respond to an emergency. This group includes those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is already “one of the only top-10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. A growing majority of these individuals depend on care provided by others to manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and to keep them in safe environments and reside in nursing homes.