Japan Data

Japanese Seniors Less Socially Active During Pandemic


Seniors in Japan are leaving the home less and reducing time spent with others during the pandemic.

A survey of senior citizens in Japan found that around 70% have less social interaction due to the trend toward staying home to avoid contracting COVID-19. The results show that even after the state of emergency was lifted in Japan, many people are still limiting their excursions.

The survey was conducted in early August by mobility scooter retailer Whill. Responses were received from 600 seniors with an average age of 74.2. The respondents were split evenly between 300 persons who find it difficult to walk and 300 who do not.

The results showed that 60.4% of respondents went out of the home “nearly every day”  or “five to six days per week” in August 2019, which was roughly 20 points higher than the 39.3% who were doing so as of August 2020. Over the course of the same year, those who “almost never” leave the home rose from 0.8% to 4.5%, while there were also increases in those who only leave the home “two or three times per month” or “once a week,” from 2.5% to 7.3% and from 7.5% to 14.8%, respectively.

The results among those who find it difficult to walk show that 32.7% currently go out of the home only one day or less per week, a roughly threefold increase compared to 12% for the period one year ago.

When asked about changes related to frequency of leaving the home and social interaction, 66.2% said that over the past year “both had decreased,” 29.2% said that “both were unchanged,” and 4.7% said that “both had increased.”

Compared to a year ago, the following activities outside the home by senior citizens fell particularly sharply: 86.7% decrease for attending theatrical performances or movies, 76.1% decrease in visiting the homes of relatives or friends, 65.1% decrease in participation in local activities, and 63.9% decrease in visiting gravesites or temples and shrines. Apart from those sorts of excursions, the frequency of eating out, interacting with friends and neighbors, and taking part in volunteer activities also fell by more than 50%.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Fast&Slow/Pixta.)

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