Karl Pillemer, an expert on older adults, predicts the pandemic will prompt a radical shift in elder care. Older people will increasingly stay in their own homes, rather than in nursing homes, which currently house more than 1.5 million people in the United States, he says. COVID-19 is particularly lethal in nursing homes; it spreads easily because caregivers feed and bathe residents in close proximity, and because older people are vulnerable to the disease.
Pillemer is the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Human Development; he is also a professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.
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