Perceived deterioration in health status among older adults in Europe and Israel following the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Aviad Tur-Sinai, Netta Bentur, Giovanni Lamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges in providing medical care for people with health conditions other than COVID-19. The study aims to assess the prevalence of older adults’ reportage of decline in health relative to pre-pandemic and to identify its determinants. The study is based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data collected during the pandemic. It comprised 51,778 people in twenty-seven European countries and Israel. Participants were asked about changes in their health status relative to pre-pandemic. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with worsening of health. Nine percent of people (average age 70 years) reported a worsening of health relative to pre-pandemic. A logistic regression revealed a significant relation of the probability of a downturn in health to forgoing, postponing, or being denied an appointment for medical care. Multiple chronic illnesses, developing COVID-19, having at least one form of psychosocial distress, higher age, and lower economic capacity were also found significantly related to the probability of a decline in health. Older adults’ comprehensive health needs must be addressed even when healthcare services are under strain due to pandemic outbreaks. Policymakers should attend to the healthcare needs of people whose vulnerability to the pandemic is amplified by chronic health conditions and low socioeconomic status. Public healthcare systems may experience a massive rebound of demand for health care, a challenge that should be mitigated by delivery of healthcare services and the provision of the financial resources that they need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1250
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Being denied medical care
  • Decline health status
  • Economic capacity
  • Forgoing health care
  • Postponing health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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