Isolated By Pandemic – Older Adults Regain Social Life With Vaccines and Reopened Day Health Centers

Two Years On - What We've Learned About the COVID-19 Virus and Vaccines

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Isolation turned out to be as dangerous as COVID-19 for many older adults and people with disabilities. With vaccines and boosters and most recently the re-opening of adult day health centers, those most vulnerable to the virus can safely reconnect with their families and communities after two years. Speakers at the briefing shared their personal stories about how vaccines coupled with re-opening of adult day health centers allowed them to regain a social life. Experts also documented the impact of COVID-19 on the infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates as well as the mental health of older adults and people with disabilities.

Kim McCoy Wade, Sr. Advisor on Aging, Disability and Alzheimer’s, Office of the California Governor, Gavin Newsom compared the importance of opening senior community centers to opening schools. She said it’s important for everyone to have a plan moving forward. “We’ve had to be so focused on vaccines and boosters to save lives. But I’m so glad today we are focusing on vaccines and boosters to bring us back together to reconnect,” McCoy Wade said.

Dr. Sara Levin, Internist, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center said the elderly have been hit hardest by every variant of COVID-19. She said if someone can’t get to the county for vaccinations, the county will come to them. You can register at and have a nurse come out to the home from our public health department to do boosters in the home. People testing positive can immediately get a prescription of anti-viral medication to lessen the virus’ severity. There’s good evidence that those treatments can make the difference between having a mild, “cold” illness and ending up in the intensive care unit on a ventilator,” Levin said.

Susan DeMarois, Director, California Department of Aging said there are COVID-19 related services all over the state, workers can come to homebound Californians, and everyone who needs state Medi-Cal should check their enrollment status and re-enroll if necessary.

Debbie Toth, President and CEO of Choice in Aging, also oversees Mt. Diablo Center said she is delighted that we can actually do something in person and that we have an opportunity to highlight the impact of adult day care. “These last two years were unbelievably difficult, particularly for our aging population,” Toth said.

Adult day health care centers are where seniors and those with disabilities, still living at home or with family, can gather for recreation, meals, health interventions, and other activities. Most are just reopening with masks and social distancing in place. The gathering was to bring awareness to not only the difficulties the pandemic has brought to older people, but what still needs to be done. “Do not isolate, it will negatively impact your health.” Coming out of the severe phase of the pandemic, older people especially need assistance re-adapting. “We need to be able to have community, to come together, to share a language, a culture, a friendship, and vaccines and boosters are the only things that have made this possible for our aging population,” added Toth.

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