Healthy Ageing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic: impact evaluation of COVID-19 containment measures on physical, mental and social wellbeing of elder and fragile populations

Healthy Ageing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic: impact evaluation of COVID-19 containment measures on physical, mental and social wellbeing of elder and fragile populations

by Simone Ghislandi and David Stuckler in collaboration with University of Genoa, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research and Università San Raffaele


The project has received funding from Axa Research Fund on Covid-19


The elderly and people with chronic long-term health conditions are those paying the highest price for the COVID-19 emergency: i) they hold the highest risk of developing severe and deadly forms of COVID-19, ii) they have unmet healthcare needs as health services delivery is stretched to capacity because of the COVID-19 health management, iii) they are at higher risk of negative health and socioeconomic consequences of confinement and social distancing.

Italy’s Lombardy region was among the first hit in Europe and, within Italy, accounts for >50% of all COVID-19 deaths. Here, we propose to quantify the real impact on physical and mental health, as well as on socio-economic status of the COVID-19 lockdown measures on older people and persons with chronic diseases in Lombardy.

We will perform a record-linkage of a new large cross-sectional survey with administrative data from Lombardy Regional Health Service. In the survey, we will representatively sample population aged 65+ to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on socioeconomic status, mental health, lifestyle factors, including smoking, alcohol, nutrition and physical activity, and access to care and treatments. This will be linked to the Lombardy Regional health Service (LRHL) which will merge key data on hospitalizations for: i) COVID-related outcomes (direct impact of COVID), and ii) chronic long-term health conditions (indirect impact of COVID), covering pre- and during- lockdown periods.

Our study will help generate evidence-based recommendations for the post-pandemic phase, and, for the rest of Europe, provide guidance on management successes and failures in one of the worst-affected regions.