Population Health

October 28, 2020

Initiative-supported project finds pandemic is worsening social isolation in older adults

Image of older man sitting outside and working on computerNew research from the University of Washington found that older adults throughout Washington are increasingly isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also challenged by the even greater reliance on technology and they often neglect chronic health conditions.

While senior-services agencies are adapting and innovating to meet the needs of this population, researchers say a lack of consistent funding, coupled with the general uncertainty of the pandemic, could destabilize the care system for the state’s older adults.

This qualitative study was funded by a UW Population Health Initiative COVID-19 rapid response grant. Its findings draw from interviews with leaders of nearly four dozen organizations around the state during July and August — just as COVID-19 cases spiked, many lockdown restrictions remained in place, and the social and physical effects of the first few months of quarantines became apparent.

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