Older adults living in social housing in Canada: the next COVID-19 hotspot?

Dr. Gina Agarwal recently published a commentary in the Canadian Journal of Public Health on how older adults in social housing are particularly at risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. 83% of older adults in social housing in Ontario report having at least one chronic condition, which places them at higher risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19. They also face challenges to accessing basic needs, health information, and healthcare, especially with many services moving to virtual platforms due to the pandemic. Social housing tends to cluster older adults in shared apartment building facilities, resulting in increased risk of COVID exposure through common spaces. Finally, there is much movement in and out of buildings as residents leave to meet their basic needs, and people providing support enter buildings without screening (e.g. personal support workers, grocery or pharmacy delivery persons). These factors place social housing buildings where older adults live at high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Among other measures, implementation of Virtual CP@clinic has the potential to protect older adults in social housing from negative effects of COVID-19. By empowering older adults to manage chronic conditions, providing health education, and improving healthcare access, Virtual CP@clinic can help older adults in social housing reduce their risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19.

Can J Public Health. 2021. URL: https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-020-00462-8