×    By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Professor Nina Kohn in The Hill: When It Comes to Healthy Aging—Location, Location, Location

Posted on Monday 10/19/2020
Nina Kohn

(The Hill | Oct. 19, 2020) Where we age shapes how we age. What neighborhood we live in can predict everything from life expectancy to likelihood of having a limb amputated to whether we spend our last years in a nursing home.  

The swath of devastation COVID-19 is cutting through communities is the latest evidence. Even in the same city, older adults in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Black and Latino people are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than those in majority-white neighborhoods. Those in nursing homes are more likely to contract and die from COVID-19 than their community-dwelling peers. This is not only because of their underlying medical conditions. It’s also because, as research suggests, institutionalization is itself a risk factor for COVID-19.   

Location matters because it determines access to health-enhancing resources and exposure to health hazards. Racially discriminatory zoning and housing market practices have led to communities of color having higher concentrations of health hazards and reduced access to health-enhancing resources, such as greenspacesaccessible health care providers and healthy food. A shortage of providers and hospital closures has left many in rural communities without access to nearby doctors. Individuals living in areas prone to natural disasters face life-long consequences of severe weather events — because of the trauma they inflict on individuals (especially those of lower socio-economic status) and the toll they take on community infrastructure and resources …

Read the full op-ed.

See also:

COVID Restrictions Threaten to Disenfranchise Nursing Home Voters (NBC 4 New York | Oct. 16, 2020)

"The more complex the procedures are for getting a ballot and returning a ballot, the more likely this population is going to be disenfranchised," Kohn said. "I think we should be very concerned that many nursing home residents and assisted living residents won't be able to vote."