Changes in daily life and wellbeing in adults, 70 years and older, in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Background: In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Swedish authorities enforced specific recommendations on social distancing for adults 70 years and older (70+). Day-to-day life changed for 15% of the Swedish population. The aim of the study was to explore how adults 70+ experienced and managed changes in everyday life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how those changes affected wellbeing at the beginning of the virus outbreak. Methods: Eleven women and six men, (mean age 76 years), living in ordinary housing, participated in remote semi-structured interviews in April 2020. The interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis. Findings: The theme Suddenly at risk–‘…but it could have been worse’ included four categories My world closed down; Negotiations, adaptations and prioritizations to manage staying at home; Barriers and facilitators to sustain occupational participation; and Considerations of my own and other’s health and wellbeing emerged from the data analysis. Conclusion: Everyday life changes had implications for health and well-being. The participants questioned previous conceptions of meaning in relation to habitual activities, likely leading to consistent occupational changes. However, these long-term effects remain to be explored, and considered to enable older adult’s health during the pandemic and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-521
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number6
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Free keywords

  • Corona
  • health
  • later life
  • occupational deprivation
  • risk group
  • social distancing
  • social interaction
  • Sweden


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