Imagine this scenario, perhaps a year or two in the future: An effective COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available, and the world is moving forward. Life, however, may never be the same, particularly for people over 60.
There are likely long-term impacts on gatherings, travel, eating, medicine, home life and even public restrooms, according to insights from geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists published by PBS’ 50+ web site, Next Avenue.
“In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience,” said Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a think tank on aging around the world. “We’ve been forced to stop and think ‘I could die, or someone I love could die.’ When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”
- 1 in 3 medical visits will involve telemedicine. Dr. Ronan Factora, a geriatrician at Cleveland Clinic, said he saw no patients age 60 and up via telemedicine before the pandemic. He predicted that by the time a COVID-19 vaccine is available, at least a third of those visits will be virtual. “It will become a significant part of my practice,” he said. Older patients likely will see their doctors more often than once a year for a checkup and benefit from improved overall health care, he said.
- Regional and local travel will replace foreign travel. Dychtwald, who is 70, said he will be much less inclined to travel abroad. For example, he said, onetime plans with his wife to visit India are now unlikely, even if a good vaccine is available, because they want to avoid large concentrations of people. Read the full article.