COVID-19, Older Adults and Long-Term Care in the Asia Pacific Region

Caitlin Littleton, HelpAge International

COVID-19, Older Adults and Long-Term Care in the Asia Pacific Region is a November 2020 report prepared by Justine Irving of Irving and Bloom for HelpAge International which explores and discusses the impact of COVID-19 on those with care needs and the long-term care sector across the Asia Pacific region. Specifically, the report seeks to summarize available information on the relationship between LTC and mortality across various long-term care settings; the impact of COVID-19 on caregivers; national responses to COVID-19 related to LTC; efficacy of interventions to reduce mortality from COVID-19 in LTC settings; and considers the longer-term implications for long-term care in Asia Pacific. The report also includes an index with country-by-country information on LTC and COVID-19.

A HelpAge brief, based on the full study, highlights the interaction of COVID-19 and long-term care for older adults in the Asia Pacific region. It is clear that people with care needs are at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. Once exposed, those with care needs face particularly high risk of complications and mortality from COVID-19. Across the region, most care and support are provided exclusively at home by untrained family carers. In some countries, long-term care facilities are more common, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 is especially high for those living in such facilities. These facilities house high-risk people living in close proximity to each other, with shared rooms, communal meals and group social activities. Relatively few older people in Asia live in such facilities, and Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea have experienced fewer COVID-19 deaths associated with such facilities compared to most other OECD countries. The pandemic has highlighted the need for care services which are person-centred, well designed, well regulated and accessible to all who need them.

Both the report and the brief were part of a larger series of reports and papers monitoring the situation of older people in Asia-Pacific during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic supported by funding from UNFPA.  

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