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Dangerous delays – What will a slowdown in the postal service mean for the health of older adults?

September 01, 2020  · 2 min read

By Yifan Zheng - Project Officer, International Federation on Ageing

It’s like a perfect storm – the combination of the rapid expansion of online shopping and the implementation of new COVID-19 safety protocols within postal processing facilities has led to a backlog of mail and an increasing surge of postal delays in many countries.

And, for the older adults who rely on the postal service to access medications, these delays place them in serious peril.

In fact, a 2017 National Poll on Healthy Aging in the United States shows that about 25% of Americans 50 to 80 years of age receive at least one medication by mail and nearly 17% receive all their medications via mail.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown policies, vulnerable persons including older people and those with chronic conditions are now depending on mail-ordered medications more than ever. Some of these people actually rely on medications to stay well and stay alive, and missing even a few days of a prescription may have significant and lasting negative health outcomes.

Dr Ramzi Yacoub, Chief Pharmacy Officer at SingleCare recommend groups at higher risk for severe complications from the coronavirus stock up on their prescriptions in advance.

"If you're facing any barriers, I recommend speaking with your pharmacist to help you navigate through this process. You may also have to call your doctor or health insurance provider to get approval on lifting refill restrictions, but your pharmacist should be able to help you through that process."

The rights of older people to access timely and safe drug services should be prioritized. If you are a journalist looking to report on the impact of delayed medication delivery on the health of older people – then let our experts help.

Dr. Samir Sinha currently serves as the Director of Geriatrics at the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, with expertise in caregiving, ageing in place, public policy, and frailty. Dr. Sinha's breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults.

Dr. Lale Ozisik is an expert in the area of general internal medicine, with expertise in medicine, vaccination, and medical education.

Both experts are available to speak with media about this important topic – simply click on either expert’s icon to arrange an interview today.

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