The long-term pandemic toll few are talking about 

Many older adults have experienced physical and cognitive decline after sheltering in place for 15 months, a problem Kaiser Health News calls a "little-discussed, long-term toll of the pandemic" in a May 21 report.

The scale of this impairment is unknown, as no major studies have been done on the topic. But physicians, physical therapists and health plan leaders cited this frailty among the nation's older adults as a rising concern.

"Anyone who cares for older adults has seen a significant decline in functioning as people have been less active,"Jonathan Bean, MD, director of the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, told Kaiser Health News.

The pandemic disrupted normal schedules for older adults, and many didn't eat well, hydrate properly or maintain their mobility. As a result, many have lost strength since the pandemic started, spurring new mobility and balance issues or worsening chronic health issues, clinicians told Kaiser Health News.

"Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren't even talking about yet," said physician therapist Linda Teodosio, division rehabilitation manager at Bayada Home Health Care's office in Towson, Md. "What I'd love to see is a national effort, maybe by the CDC, focused on helping older people overcome these kinds of impairments."

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