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PERSPECTIVE/VIEWPOINT - SPECIAL POPULATIONS
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-155

The Elderly: “Age in the Time and Aftermath of Corona.” Some Personal Reflections and a Plea


Department of Clinical Social Work, University for Applied Sciences, Coburg, Germany; Division of Rehabilitation Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Wolfgang Rutz
Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Unit for Stressrehabilitation Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_30_20

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The situation and societal positioning of the elderly are specifically affected during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation related to down regulations of social contact within societies, families, and next of kin. This is related to the elderly's specific demand to social contact and respect for their identity but also their specific sensitivity to matters of helplessness, self-determination as well as identity and dignity. In addition, people of higher age are often getting increasingly diverse in personality traits, interests, and functional capacity, demanding individual person-centered respects to their needs. In Europe, different attitudes are brought forward when it comes to treating and respecting elderly people, from gerontocracy attitudes of high appreciation to tendencies to see the elderly as a burden in the society. These differences are often illustrated by, for example, reported figures of completed suicides in this risk population. According to this, even the structural societal responses to, for example, health problems and existential needs of the elderly might decisively be influenced by these attitudes. Sweden had one of the highest Covid-19-related morbidity and mortality figures in the older population. In the article, this unacceptable situation is elaborated on, as well as the needs of paying person-centered attribute to the elderly's specific needs and capacities in analysis, resilience, and sustainable long-term approaches. In general, this seems decisive to formulate a plea to cope with the risk for future societal and global challenges lying ahead of us – future viral and digital pandemics, migration waves, and climatic as well as social “tsunamis”. Here, the elderly persons need to be given a significant role to contribute to the necessary solutions.


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