Is It “Aging” or Immunosenescence? The COVID-19 Biopsychosocial Risk Factors Aggravating Immunosenescence as Another Risk Factor of the Morbus. A Developmental-clinical Social Work Perspective.
COVID-19 has proliferated ageism. The impetus of this article is to show that immunosenescence is a risk factor to COVID-19 and not aging per se. Based on the idea that some older people are also healthier than younger ones, the emphasis of this article is on immunosenescence and not aging as a risk factor of COVID-19 complications. The paper utilizes a biopsychosocial approach to expound on the link between immunosenescence and COVID-19 risk factors. The article explores biological factors such as malnutrition, comorbidities, substance abuse, and sex. It also expands on psychosocial factors such as mental health disorders, homelessness, unemployment, lack of physical exercises, stigma, and discrimination. The article calls for gerontological social work to assume a developmental-clinical social work perspective to prevent the early onset and progression of immunosenescence. It calls for gerontological social work to prevent factors that promote unhealthy aging. The article promotes a preventative stance to practice and not just curative approaches. Treatment involves primary prevention which emphasizes on avoiding the onset of unhealthy aging. It is this approach that gerontological social work should aim also to address in building resilience in the face of pandemics.
Authors: Robert K Chigangaidze, Patience Chinyenze