Qual Life Res. 2022 Sep 4. doi: 10.1007/s11136-022-03210-2. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: We investigated how quality of life (QoL) changed between 2018 and 2020, and how its related factors, i.e., communication with friends and family, loneliness, and sleeping difficulties changed amid the early-phase COVID-19 pandemic among Finnish older people.
METHODS: This study utilizes data from a repeated cross-sectional, population-based FinSote survey in 2018 and 2020. Participants were community-dwelling people aged 75 years or older (N = 9781 in 2018 and N = 9919 in 2020). QoL was assessed with the EUROHIS-QoL-8 scale. Changes in QoL-related factors were self-evaluated in 2020. Statistical methods included t test, Cohen’s D, and chi-square test. To identify potential risk groups, all analyses were stratified by socio-demographic features including sex, age, economic deprivation, living alone, and difficulties in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL).
RESULTS: QoL improved slightly from 2018 to 2020 (means 3.68 and 3.81, respectively). Only those reporting economic deprivation demonstrated a slight decrease in QoL (3.24 vs. 3.14). Of respondents, 63% reported having less communication with friends and family, 42% having felt lonelier, and 20% having more sleeping difficulties amid the pandemic. Negative changes were more often reported by women, the oldest old, those living alone, reporting economic deprivation, or manifesting IADL difficulties.
CONCLUSION: Finnish older people’s QoL was not affected as much as expected amid the pandemic, although some population groups were, however, more susceptible to the negative effects of the pandemic on QoL-related factors. Results imply that various socio-demographic features may shape the effects of a global pandemic and its control measures on wellbeing.