By Sara Froelich of the Chronic Care Collaborative 

Everyone is at risk of developing COVID-19. But, those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and dementia have a higher chance of developing severe symptoms—and of dying from the virus. According to the CDC, people with underlying medical conditions have 12 times the risk of being hospitalized and six times the risk of dying than those without.

In Colorado, 61.5 percent of adults have at least one chronic condition, and 35.2 percent of adults have two or more chronic diseases. This prevalence increases from 40.7 percent among those 18 to 24 years old to 89.6 percent among those 65 or older. National numbers are similar. The risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 increases with age, which makes this older group with at least one chronic disease especially vulnerable to this novel virus.

As more businesses open and more employees return to work, people with chronic health conditions face unique challenges in how to conduct their lives while protecting their health. Knowing you’re at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from a rapidly spreading virus can be stressful and frightening. Some of the best ways to manage stress and fear in the face of uncertainty are to educate yourself, be prepared, and stay positive. It is also important to stay connected with medical providers and caregivers, even if it is through telemedicine or other virtual ways to communicate.

Chronic Disease Day

July 10 was Chronic Disease Day, a day dedicated to bringing together local governments, patient advocacy groups, and local communities to share actionable resources and support the chronic disease community. In honor of Chronic Disease Day, the Chronic Care Collaborative (CCC) wanted to thank Adira Foundation for their generous grant to help people living with neurodegenerative diseases in Colorado. Thanks to the COVID-19 Fast Track Grant from the Adira Foundation, the CCC and four of its member organizations were able to help their constituents navigate the unique physical and emotional issues that have arisen during this unprecedented time.

Adira is dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurodegenerative diseases. The CCC greatly respects and appreciates the collaborative nature of this foundation and it’s focus on local, community organizations. In Colorado, the CCC and Adira partnered with The Rocky Mountain MS Center; the Parkinson Association of the Rockies; the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter; and the Alzheimer’s Association, Colorado Chapter.

Helping people with chronic conditions during COVID-19

With the Adira Foundation grant, the Rocky Mountain MS Center provided virtual and online education and support to individuals and families living with multiple sclerosis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the wonderful projects they did include an online education page, transforming their bi-annual Education Summit into a livestream virtual program, virtual counseling sessions, and providing food assistance.

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Rocky Mountain MS Center livestreamed their biannual Education Summit in May.

The Alzheimer’s Association used funds to support a 24/7 hotline that provided support and answered questions on various issues related to COVID-19. Caregivers in Colorado, especially, needed guidance on how to ensure the physical safety of their loved ones and themselves, and handle those diagnosed who were exhibiting more severe issues due to extended isolation.

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The Alzheimer’s Association used funds to support a 24/7 hotline that provided support on COVID-19 related issues.


The Parkinson Association of the Rockies was able to help people with necessities such as groceries, medications, and Uber rides to doctor’s appointments. Similarly, the ALS Association’s Rocky Mountain Chapter has been able to offer direct financial assistance for people living with ALS or their caregivers through their Quality of Life grant program during the pandemic.

Furthermore, thanks to Adira Foundation, the CCC was able to leverage its generous grant to obtain a state-sponsored COVID-19 relief grant. The CCC looks forward to further helping people with chronic conditions maintain their health and not get derailed by this hard-to-contain virus.

Sara Froelich is the executive director for the CCC. This article was re-posted from the CCC website, with her permission.

Adira created two e-cards especially for Chronic Disease Day. Check them out here.