Observational study: prospective longitudinal cohort (Green)
The objective of this single centre, observational, prospective study was to describe the perceived limitations in everyday life, psychological burden and approval to easing of measures during the COVID-19 phases in elderly people with neurological disorders. Overall, 452 elderly people participated in the NeuroGerAdh study (DRKS00016774) and were interviewed by telephone between 18 March and 30 August 2020. Overall, 307 (67.9%) patients had relevant limitations in daily life due to the measures. These limitations significantly decreased during the pandemic phases. At the beginning of the pandemic, people complained about restricted social contacts and mobility, which were the most common reasons for perceived limitations in daily life. Later, from June 2020, wearing a mouth-nose mask had become the main reason for perceived limitations. In the elastic net regularisation model applied, higher perceived limitations in daily life were associated with younger age and earlier pandemic phases. Higher psychological burden was mainly associated with early pandemic phase, younger age and depression. The perceived psychological burden decreased as the pandemic phases passed, even though the reasons for psychological burden (anxiety or fear of infection, insecurity and concerns) did not change greatly during the phases. From 16 June 2020, the patients were asked whether they approved of the easing of measures. Sixty-seven of 136 patients (49.3%) approved and 55 (40.4%) did not. The common reasons for disapproval were fear of increased risk of infection and irresponsible behaviour of other people. The authors concluded that, while limitations in daily life decreased during the study period, anxiety remains a common psychological burden in elderly sick people, and needs special attention. Accordingly, many people did not approve easing of measures. Special strategies are needed to cope with changing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.