Mental Health and the Aged in the Era of COVID-19

Barbara Pfeffer Billauer.

Before CoVid felled the planet, the number of new cases of dementia every year tallied at ten million, or one new case every three seconds. Alzeheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia—which is fatal—affected 10% of Americans over sixty-five, some 4.7 million people. In recent years Alzheimer’s deaths rose 55%, 4 expected to quadruple by 2050.

COVID-19 has dramatically exacerbated the situation. “At least 15,000 more Americans . . . died in recent months from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than otherwise would have . . . .” This is about 18% higher than average. The CDC reported that between mid-March and mid-April, “about 250 extra individuals suffering from some form of dementia were dying each day.” In Wales, excess non-coronavirus related dementia deaths was 54% higher. In England, official figures tallied almost 10,000 unexplained extra deaths in people with dementia in April alone – 83% over normal. 

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