By staying close to home and avoiding crowded areas, older people can reduce their risk of COVID-19. However, the new referendum suggests that it can be expensive, especially for people with health problems.
In June of this year, 56% of people over the age of 50 felt sometimes or often isolated from others-more than double the 27% who felt that way in a similar poll in 2018. This year he also said he felt the pandemic was more isolated than it was just before arriving in the United States, and one-third felt less friendship than before.
Social contact was also damaged, 46% Senior citizens They reported that they interacted with friends, neighbors, or family members outside the home less than once a week, as reported in June.
The new findings come from a referendum on healthy aging for the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, supported by the AA and UM Academic Medical Center, Michigan Medicine. .. Polls on loneliness in 2020 and 2018 included a national sample of over 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 years.
Polls also point to some bright spots. For example, 46% of older people who say they interact with their neighbors at least once a week are unlikely to have experienced loneliness. Technology has also helped more than 50 people connect with others. Fifty-nine percent reported using social media at least once a week, and 31% reported using video chat at least once a week.
Many older people also said they were doing healthy despite the pandemic, 75% said they were outdoors or in contact with nature, and 62% said they exercised several times a week. It was. However, those experiencing loneliness were less likely to engage in these healthy behaviors.
“As the pandemic continues, it is important to pay attention to how well our society supports the social and emotional needs of older people,” said Dr. John Piet, a professor of UM School of Public Health. Says. We worked with the poll team. “Fellowship with loneliness health Much research is still needed, but even with new evidence gathered, everyone can take the time to reach out to their old neighbors, friends and relatives in a safe way when trying to avoid the coronavirus. “
“The changes we see in less than two years with these measures are truly amazing,” said Preeti Malani, MD, a professor of geriatrics and infectious disease training who directs polls. “The use of technology to fill the gap and the importance of maintaining healthy routines such as exercise, sleep, a balanced diet and going out will continue to be important in the coming months.”
Interaction between health and lifestyle
According to Marani, 80% of respondents surveyed in June said they were eating a healthy diet and 81% said they were getting enough sleep. This is almost the same as the 2018 survey.
Polls also show that half of those who live alone, and half of those who are unemployed or disabled (52%), retire 39% of those who live, work, or work with others. did.
Similarly, just over half of those who said their physical health was fair or poor, and two-thirds of those who said the same about their mental health said they lacked dating. I did. Nearly three-quarters of those who said their mental health was fair or poor said they felt isolated, and 55% reported improvements in their mental health.
The use of connecting technology is like a double-edged sword, Social media Video chat is more likely to be said to be isolated.
Pandemic continues, older people try to avoid Coronavirus As an overwhelming risk to infectious diseases and their health, AARP provides resources such as tips to help older people avoid feeling isolated despite a pandemic. The AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect website includes tools that enable seniors to assess their level of isolation and connect to resources and opportunities in their area.
“Previous studies have shown that prolonged isolation can have serious health and health consequences, such as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research at AARP. The doctor says. “It’s no surprise that older people, especially those living alone, have reported more loneliness since the beginning of the pandemic. During this public health crisis, we need to continue to find ways to connect and engage with each other.”
In February 2020, the National Academy of Sciences published a report on the need for a healthcare system to help prevent, identify, and address loneliness over the age of 50.
The results of the referendum on healthy aging are based on responses from a national representative sample of 2,074 adults aged 50 to 80 who answered a variety of questions online. The question was created by the IHPI team and the data was interpreted and edited. Laptop and internet access provided poll Respondents who do not have it yet.
University of Michigan
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