Background: The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic and the accompanying restrictions have caused disruptions in the lives of older Thais. The present study aimed to determine the associations of perceived risks with social, economic, and health changes that occurred among people aged 60 years old and over during the implemented lockdown measures.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, data from a survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons in Thailand, with a sample size of 1230 collected in July 2020, were used for the analyses. An index was created using factor analysis from a list of perceived risks or worries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mentioned index was then employed in an ordinary least squares regression model to explore associated factors that involved social, economic, and health changes.
Results: The results indicated that older individuals, who were married (β=-0.141; P=0.030) and resided in rural areas (β=-0.218; P<0.001), had lower levels of perceived risks or worries. Greater worry was related to individuals who had negative physical health changes during the pandemic (β=0.177; P<0.001) and those who had less mobility around their communities (β=0.356; P<0.001). Loss of employment (β=0.318; P=0.004) and income inadequacy before the pandemic (β=0.370; P<0.001) and only during the pandemic (β=0.169; P=0.040) had positive associations with perceived risk.
Conclusion: Observing psychological health is necessary for the protection of the older population’s wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic being an unprecedented event has shown the need to ensure the social and economic protection of this age group as they are highly vulnerable.