October 5, 2021—Solely looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the nursing home population does not capture the full picture of the damage this pandemic has wrought on older people. Older adults living in the community — in their own homes — were also at increased risk of COVID-19 related illness and death, as well as other indirect effects and far too little is known about how they have been faring. In a survey we recently conducted, the SILVER survey, nearly 700 randomly selected New Yorkers 70 years or older residing in the community participated. The survey showed that more than a third of participants reported negative effects of the pandemic on their lives. Specifically, two-thirds reported experiencing financial challenges and nearly one in ten did not have enough to eat. The findings from the survey point to the wider, largely silent effects of the pandemic on older New Yorkers and should be a wake-up call. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn back a curtain on an entire sector of our population that has been overlooked. Now is the time to ensure that, when the next crisis strikes, older adults will have the support they need, if we are to build a truly resilient city that protects all our citizens in times of crisis. 

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