Centenarians experience of the COVID Pandemic in Switzerland

Jopp, Daniela and Cavalli, Stefano and von Gunten, Armin and Herrmann, Francois and Gomes da Rocha, Carla and Ziade, Garnelle and Uittenhove, Kevin (2021) Centenarians experience of the COVID Pandemic in Switzerland. In: Annual Scientific Meeting, Gerontological Society of America - Disruption to transformation: Aging in the 'new normal', 10.11.2021, Phoenix, USA - Webinar. (Unpublished)

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Being considered as individuals with elevated risk of severe health reactions to the COVID19 infections, governments around the world have put in place wide-ranging measures to protect older individuals from the virus. In the present study, we investigated centenarians’ experience of the COVID19 pandemic, to reach a better understanding of their vulnerability and resilience. Within the SWISS100 study, we conducted telephone interviews with 30 centenarians and 40 family members. While almost all centenarians did not feel vulnerable, qualitative data suggested the existence of two groups: one included centenarians who lived rather socially withdrawn before the crisis and therefore did not experience major changes. The other group included centenarians who suffered from no longer being able to see family and friends and missed valued activities. Family members observed additional effects, including centenarians’ decline in mental and physical health. These findings highlight the importance of different vulnerability profiles and lock-down side effects.

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