Older adults, daily mobility, and the COVID-19 pandemic: A preliminary view of how the U.S. aging population is coping

Authors: Eric Boschmann*, University of Denver
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: older adults, aging, mobility, COVID-19, United States
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The aging and mobility body of literature seeks to understand the unique transportation needs of older adults, the implications of their changing mobility, and how cities and society can make adaptations. This is important as daily mobility for out-of-home activities is a cornerstone to successful independence in aging and for maintaining higher levels of well-being and quality of life.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, a wide range of personal and locally enforced restrictions limited the movement everyday life activities. As such, how has the pandemic impacted the daily mobility of older adults? And how are older adults coping? Preliminary findings are based upon a 25-question survey deployed across the United States in mid-September 2020, 6 months after pandemic-related restrictions began. The survey yielded 649 responses from a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. This presentation will discuss survey results related to impacts on daily trips, trip replacement, perceptions and satisfaction of individual mobility, and measures of quality of life and well-being. Preliminary findings indicate that most older adults leave their homes less often than before the pandemic, and feelings of isolation have increased. But quality of life has declined for only a small portion, and perceptions of individual independence in mobility remains high.

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