The majority of those surveyed also feel more confident using technology than ever before

By People Staff
April 30, 2021 11:10 AM
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Over half of older adults in the U.S. said the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to be more self-sufficient, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans (aged 57+) revealed 56% believe they've become more independent over the past year, and seven in 10 expect these newfound feelings of self-sufficiency to last moving forward.

The survey results delved into what contributed to this feeling and revealed that having to figure out new technology played a big role.

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Fifty-eight percent said technology allowed them to stay in touch with family and friends over the course of the past year, while 55% said it allowed them to have essential items delivered.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the YMCA, the survey found this ability to use technology was especially important during the pandemic, for more than just the obvious reasons.

In addition to using tech simply to stay in touch or for deliveries, 63% said it helped curb the negative impact 2020 could have had on their overall health and well-being. And 56% said technology stopped them from feeling lonely.

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Unfortunately, that doesn't mean there was no impact. The survey also asked respondents which aspect of their health — physical, mental or social — was affected most by the pandemic.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said their mental health took the biggest hit, but those older adults turned to hobbies (63%), socially distanced visits with friends and family (44%) and exercise (44%) to help with the effect on their mental health.

And 31% of respondents said, of the three different aspects of their overall health, their mental health would be their top priority moving forward.

Respondents said they'll feel safe returning to their normal routine/pre-pandemic life within two months after being vaccinated.

For those who plan to be vaccinated, respondents are most looking forward to taking care of their loved ones (52%), attending social gatherings (39%), and just seeing their loved ones in person (37%).

More than half of respondents who plan to receive the vaccine said they plan to return to their health club/community center (52%), and nearly half of those plan on going a few times a week (42%).

Those respondents rated socializing with other members and staff at the top of what they look forward to most while there, followed by attending group exercise classes and attending healthy living programs/workshops.

And if the past year has a silver lining, 54% of respondents said they feel closer to their neighbors because of the pandemic and 54% said that the pandemic ultimately helped to strengthen their local community.