New York: A new US national poll suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic may have increased older adults’ risk of falling and injuring themselves due to changes in physical activity, conditioning, and mobility. The National Poll on Healthy Aging, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, is based on responses from a national sample of more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 to a poll conducted between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and January 2021.
According to the poll, 25% of older adults fell, and 40% of these fell more than once during the poll period. More than one-third (37%) of older adults reported being less physically active since the pandemic began. After March 2020, nearly the same percentage said they would spend less time on their feet, walking or standing.
During the pandemic, fear of falling increased by 23%. According to poll director Preeti Malani, a Michigan Medicine infectious disease physician, the poll also reveals clues about how loneliness and lack of companionship, which increased among older adults during the pandemic, may play a role in changes in activity levels, mobility, and fall risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls kill more than 32,000 older adults each year. This figure has risen steadily in recent years and is expected to rise further as the US population ages.