Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, a third (34%) of people over 80 years old living in the European Union had not left their homes by the summer of that year, according to a study by Eurofound, the EU agency responsible for improving living and working conditions.
Almost nine out of ten people in this age group (88%) also said they were receiving fewer visits from family members, reports the Belga News Agency.
Although people of all ages were more likely to experience mental health problems and loneliness during the pandemic, the impact was particularly strong for the over-80s, with 23% of the latter reporting feeling sad or depressed more often in the summer of 2020 than before the health crisis.
Older people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with over-65s accounting for 77% of Covid deaths in Europe up to November 2021. Many others have suffered severe illness, been hospitalised or required rehabilitative care.
Eurofound’s research shows that, although the 65+ age group reported better well-being compared to younger people on some indicators, there is evidence of an overall decline in the quality of life of the over-80s.
They were particularly affected by isolation, reduced opportunities for physical activity and declining well-being.