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THE mental health of the over 70s has been the least impacted by lockdown measures when directly compared to other age groups, according to a new study by Saga.

The findings, published to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, might surprise many people who have expressed concern over how the over 70s are faring in the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there have been marked increases in anxiety, depression and loneliness among the over 70s, the increases are significantly below those of younger age groups.

Of those surveyed:

  • 12% of over 70s have felt lonelier during in lockdown, compared to: 52% of 18-24 year-old’s; 32% of 25-34 year old’s; 28% of 35-44 year old’s; 21% of 45-54 year old’s
  • 19% of over 70s have felt more anxious during lockdown, compared to: 47% of 18-24 year-old’s; 39% of 25-34 year old’s; 41% of 35-44 year old’s; 33% of 45-54 year old’s
  • 17% of over 70s have experienced lower mood or felt depressed, compared to: 44% of 18-24 year-old’s; 39% of 25-34 year old’s; 36% of 35-44 year old’s; 34% of 45-54 year old’s

The over 70s are challenging the age-old stereotype that older generations are the loneliest age group by demonstrating their resilience to the lockdown measures.

The survey indicates that many have taken the need to spend more time at home in their stride and adapted better than other age groups to the new limitations on their movement.

To help keep up spirits during lockdown, Saga launched the #NotGoingOutClub, creating engaging content for Saga members and customers. This included joining forces with a number of celebrities to create podcasts, which have featured Joanna Lumley, Alan Titchmarsh, Roger Daltry and John Sergeant.

Nick Stace, Chief Strategy Officer at Saga, said: “The resilience and stoicism of people over 70 shines through this survey. We at Saga know that those in this age group are fiercely independent and determined to live life to the fullest – and now we can see that they have adapted better to lock down than other age groups.

“Even so, the limitations on social interaction have had a knock-on effect on mental health across all ages, perhaps unsurprisingly given the fact that Covid-19 is undoubtedly the most significant peacetime challenge we have collectively faced in our lifetime.

“Despite being the least affected age group, the fact that one in five people over 70 have experienced increased low mood, loneliness and anxiety as a result of lockdown is clearly concerning. As we enter this important next phase, we will be doing all we can at Saga to make sure we can support our members and wider community to limit the knock-on effect of lockdown on mental health.”