Gustafsson PE, Nilsson I, San Sebastian M
BMJ Open 12 (5) e060209 [2022-05-24; online 2022-05-24]
To examine the early impact of the pandemic and of quarantine measures targeting older adults introduced in March 2020 on loneliness among older adults in Sweden.Design Prospective pretest-posttest and controlled interrupted time series designs. The population of older adults receiving home care before and during the emergence of the first COVID-19 pandemic wave in Sweden in Spring 2020. Respondents (n=45 123, mean age 85.6 years, 67.6% women) came from two waves of a total population survey targeting all community-dwelling older adults receiving home care for older adults in Sweden in Spring 2019 and 2020. Self-reported loneliness. Results estimated 14% (95% CI: 10 to 19) higher loneliness in Spring 2020 compared with 2019, taking covariates into account. No impact of the quarantine measure was found (1% increase, 95% CI: -1 to 4). The results illustrate the broader public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for older adults, but also suggest a relative resilience among older adults in home care to quarantine measures, at least during the first months of the pandemic. Future studies should examine the long-term effects of sustained pandemic and social distancing measures on loneliness among older adults.