Collateral damage of COVID-19 in older adults: Short and long-term health consequences of the epidemic outbreak

PI: Laura Fratiglioni

Professor in Medicine

The purpose of this project is to learn from the current epidemic in Sweden how to better protect older adults from COVID-19 indirect harms on their health (collateral damage). It is likely that the collateral health damage represents a large component of the whole individual and societal burden caused by the infection. We have the opportunity to investigate this topic from the unique perspective of an area (Stockholm) that has been heavily affected by the disease, and within a population well characterised in terms of medical and social profile during the last 20 years. The project is embedded in the ongoing Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K), a population-based study with regular health assessments since 2001. We aim to: 1) Estimate the short-term damage on older adults health during the first months of the outbreak by completing an ad-hoc phone interview to a subsample of SNAC-K participants (n= 1409); 2) Detect the long-term repercussions on older adults health at 6 and 12 months by linking SNAC-K dataset to multiple Swedish health registers; 3) Identify the risk profiles for the indirect damage by integrating SNAC-K data with the ongoing interview and registries. Both mental and somatic health is addressed. Little is known on collateral health damage of COVID-19 up to date. Findings from this project will fulfil this gap and the new knowledge will support future actions against the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic and other future viral outbreaks.

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).