The longitudinal psychological, physical activity, and financial impact of a COVID-19 lockdown on older adults in Singapore: The PIONEER-COVID population-based study

Ester Pei Xuan Lee, Ryan Eyn Kidd Man, Tau Liang Alfred Gan, Eva K. Fenwick, Amudha Aravindhan, Kam Chun Ho, Sharon Cohan Sung, Tien Yin Wong, Cyrus Su Hui Ho, Preeti Gupta, Ecosse L. Lamoureux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Several countries have implemented ‘lockdown’ measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Aims: To examine the psychological, physical activity (PA), and financial impact of a 2-month COVID-19 lockdown on older adults aged ≥60 years in Singapore, and to identify factors associated with adverse lockdown-related outcomes. Method: We interviewed 496 community-dwelling adults (mean age [standard deviation]: 73.8 [7.6] years; 54.8% female) during the lockdown who had previously participated in a population-based epidemiological study. Validated questionnaires were utilised to assess loneliness and depressive symptoms at both timepoints, while inhouse questionnaires were used to assess PA and financial difficulty during lockdown. Multivariable regression models determined the lockdown-related change in loneliness and depression scores, and the factors associated with adverse outcomes. Results: Loneliness increased significantly during the lockdown period (p < 0.001) while depressive symptoms decreased (p = 0.022). Decreased PA, greater financial problems, male gender, Indian ethnicity, living alone, having a greater body mass index and perceived susceptibility to COVID-19 were all associated with worsening loneliness scores. A total of 36.9% and 19.6% participants reported decreased PA and had financial problems during the lockdown, respectively. Unemployment was associated with decreased PA, while self-employed individuals, cleaners, retail workers and smokers had greater odds of experiencing financial difficulty. Conclusion: Despite a decrease in depressive symptoms, our population of older Asians reported a significant increase in loneliness and decreased PA, with one-fifth experiencing financial problems during lockdown. Our data suggest that more targeted public health efforts are needed to reduce repercussions of future lockdowns.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberGPS5645
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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