Ageing is often accompanied by a decreased frequency and range of social contacts, and an increase in loneliness. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the social distancing requirement also reduced the social contacts of the elderly and their limited opportunities to receive social support. The aim of the study is to assess the role of social contacts and support in the changes in psycho-emotional states of the elderly. The analysis is based on Latvian data derived from The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)Wave 8 (n=1207), SHARE Covid-19 questionnaire. Indices of social isolation were constructed based on the self-reported measurements of social contacts, mutual support and assistance. Logistic regression models were calculated with dependent variables defined as experienced socio-emotional disturbances to identify the impact of social isolation on mental health during the crisis. Among respondents aged 50+, almost a one-fifth have felt the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on their mental health. A significantly higher proportion of those who have experienced problems in the past are single people and those vulnerable to social isolation: three times more people had experienced anxiety in the past month, twice as many people had experienced sadness, anxiety, and sleep disorders were present in 44% of this group. Reduced social contacts and limited availability of social support in times of crisis can become a factor in increased social exclusion and mental health deterioration. Therefore it is important to continue providing social support and assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, involving volunteers to reduce loneliness among the elderly, as well as isolation and the associated deterioration of their mental health, and to implement strategic communication at the national level to reduce anxiety among seniors.VPP-COVID-2020/1-0011 “Impact of COVID-19 on health care system and public health in Latvia; ways in preparing health sector for future epidemics”.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)