NEWS:

ILC-Japan has compiled the results of interviews with older adults in Japan conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a considerable physical risk to older adults. The pandemic, however, can also have significant effects on quality of life and well-being. Although various measures have been put in place to address these risks, it is doubtful whether they have fully taken the voices of older adults into consideration.

In order to understand their views on various aspects of the pandemic, ILC-Japan conducted interviews with older adults in Japan, asking them what the pandemic has meant to them, how it was affecting their lives, what support they needed, and how they were overcoming the challenge. Through these interviews, ILC-Japan explored ways to protect older adults’ health and well-being from their own perspectives.

The interviews took place twice: in late June 2020 and February to March 2021. Many respondents experienced negative changes since the beginning of the pandemic. Some felt locked up, which also led to anxiety and loneliness. Others experienced a decline in physical and/or cognitive function as most activities had been suspended and they spent most of the time at home. However, quite a few respondents have gradually found their own ways to maintain their health, stay connected with family and friends, and support/encourage friends and neighbors. In other words, they have found ways to coexist with COVID-19.

Contrary to the stereotypical images of older adults, such as “they are to be protected” and “they should not go anywhere because of the high risk of infection”, the interviews showed numerous examples of their resilience and innovative ideas to cope with the challenge. The respondents have also found new ways to enjoy life because of the pandemic experience. All these examples demonstrate the remarkable and revolutionary resilience of older adults.

A booklet will be published on the ILC-Japan website in March 2022, which will introduce the voices of these older adults under four themes: physical and mental health; social connection; apartment complex residents and community activities; and male corporate retirees and ICT. The booklet will also provide a survey outline and information on other countries.

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