Global life expectancy, especially in Western society, has been climbing steeply and steadily. Until the early 18th century, life expectancy was only approximately 40 years. This was primarily because health systems throughout the world were not advanced, epidemics and chronic diseases resulted in high mortality rates, antibiotics and vaccines had yet to be developed, and nutrition was poor.Since then, life expectancy in Western society has more than doubled. As of 2018, life expectancy in Israel was 83 years, of which 74 years, on average, were lived in good health. Humanity had received a gift, the significance of which we find difficult to comprehend in comparison with the reality of life not so long ago. The coronavirus pandemic affects mostly older adults, especially those in poor functional states with a weak immune systems. It is still difficult to predict the number of waves this pandemic will have, the solutions different countries will adopt to cope with the economic collapse, which vaccines will be developed and when. It is also hard to predict how many older adults in Israel and around the world will die directly as a result of the virus, although in light of its scope in countries such as the United States, Italy and Spain, it seems likely that the numbers will be high.The question of whether the rise in life expectancy will come to a halt – or possibly even be reversed – does not only stem from the expected deaths of many older adults directly from the pandemic. It is also rooted in the consequences of the deteriorating quality of life of older adults who are required to be isolated during and after the crisis. This might shorten their lives even more than the disease itself.• Limited basic necessities – It is difficult to provide basic necessities, such as food, personal hygiene, etc., for older adults who live in the community and require nursing. This is because of the difficulty of family members who do not live with the older adult, to reach and assist them. It is also difficult for the caregivers to reach the older adults’ homes and care for them as they would normally do.• Decreased consumption of health services – As a result of the isolation, many medical tests, treatments and elective surgeries are being postponed or canceled. This might also result in a decline of older adults’ health.• Increased loneliness – The need for isolation and social distancing can increase the sense of loneliness and cause a decline in the cognitive and physical abilities of many older adults, especially those lacking family and community support systems.• Accelerated functional decline – The results of decreased movement and activity (deconditioning) can trigger rapid physical and cognitive regression and a shortened life span.As of 2016, the United States became the first Western country where the rise in life expectancy came to a halt and began to decline. This was attributed primarily to the opioid epidemic, diabetes, obesity and additional consequences of modern-day life in Western countries.Will the corona pandemic halt the rise in life expectancy around the world, including in Israel? If so, will it only be temporary, and continue to climb again in the coming years?Perhaps the decline will only be in healthy life expectancy (years lived in good health) and we will still live to the same age due to vaccines and technology.Or will the opposite happen. Will the pandemic bring about life-extending factors such as decreased pollution on a global scale due to reduced emissions, natural immunity, and reduced mortality because of stringent adherence to hygiene and avoidance of hospitals where many die from infections?Only time will tell.We can already recommend adopting a policy on family, community, municipal and government levels that will create opportunities and improve the provision of basic services for older adults who require nursing services in the home. Creative interventions and alternative means can help alleviate their loneliness and enable them to be stimulated physically and cognitively from afar.The writer is CEO of JDC Eshel.