Older adults are particularly affected by the current COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. The risk of dying from COVID-19 increases with age and is often associated with pre-existing health conditions. Globally, more than 50 million-in Austria currently approximately 140,000 people-suffer from dementia. The co-occurrence of dementia as a "pandemic of old age" together with the COVID-19 pandemic has a double impact on persons living with dementia and their caregivers. The COVID-19 pandemic poses major challenges for individuals with dementia and their caregivers: (1) People with dementia have limited access to information on COVID-19, may have difficulties with protective measures such as wearing masks and in remembering safety regulations. (2) People with dementia live alone or with their family, or are institutionalized. To reduce the chance of infection among older people in nursing homes, Austrian local authorities have banned visitors to nursing homes and long-term care facilities and implemented strict social-distancing measures. As a result, older people lost face-to-face contact with their family members, became isolated and social activities stopped. Consequently, anxiety, stress and serious concerns about infections among staff in nursing homes increased and they developed signs of exhaustion and burnout during the full lockdown of the facilities. Thus, due to the emerging COVID-19 crisis, the Austrian Alzheimer Association (Österreichische Alzheimer Gesellschaft, ÖAG) and international societies developed recommendations to support people living with dementia and their caregivers on various issues of physical and mental health.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Position paper of the Austrian Alzheimer Association (Österreichische Alzheimer Gesellschaft, ÖAG): Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria on people with dementia and their care environment-problem areas, recommendations, and strategies
|Number of pages
|Published - Mar 2021