A new national survey of seniors by Tivity Health® shows disruptions caused by COVID-19 are at a record low, with only 22% of respondents indicating their life being hampered by the pandemic. It also indicates continued improvements in confidence in lifestyles, attitudes toward overall health and well-being, as well as feelings of stress and anxiety.
This is the eighth quarterly survey by Tivity Health, Inc. (Nasdaq: TVTY), a leading provider of health improvement solutions, including SilverSneakers®. The quarterly survey tracks evolving trends among SilverSneakers members related to physical health, social engagement, technology use and more. The Q1 results mirror trends seen in the company’s semi-monthly poll of adults 65 and older who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
“Our ongoing Pulse surveys continue to illuminate how SilverSneakers members’ health and well-being have been affected by the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richard Ashworth, president and CEO of Tivity Health. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen dramatic swings in physical activity, social health and nutrition. We’re pleased to be seeing broad positive gains, with seniors expressing more optimism and returning to more normal routines.”
A vast majority (80%) of members believe that dealing with surges of COVID-19 cases is going to be the new normal and we will have to respond accordingly. Nearly three-quarters believe we will learn to live with COVID-19 without having to disrupt daily life.
“We are seeing an increased desire among seniors to incorporate technology into their daily lives to bolster connectivity and improve fitness and well-being,” said Ashworth. “Many seniors are also feeling more comfortable socializing and engaging with friends and family in-person—though we are very mindful of the third who are not yet comfortable.”
A notable exception to the positives trends is increasing food insecurity, rising from 6% to 9% from the previous quarter.
“At the same time, consistent social isolation is three times higher than pre-pandemic levels and is experienced twice as often by low-income respondents,” added Ashworth. “These insights should guide the kinds of programming, services and partnerships that healthcare leaders consider as we move forward. Certain issues that have been exacerbated over the past two years will need to be addressed to ensure that seniors have the tools and resources they need to return to pre-pandemic routines.”
Full results can be found at TivityHealth.com/SilverSneakers-Pulse-Survey/
Additional key findings include:
COVID-19 Perceptions and Attitudes
Even though members remain concerned about COVID-19 variants, they are growing accustomed to the new normal as members see a decline in disruption of their everyday lives, the lowest of all eight surveys conducted (22%). More than half (59%) of members feel comfortable socializing with friends and family in public places right now as compared to the Q4 Pulse survey of 2021 (55%). Members are also more comfortable participating in several in-person activities than in mid-December with more members interested in seeing vaccinated people, (32% versus 14%) and dining outdoors at places such as bars or restaurants (20% versus 5%).
Adoption of Technology
While seniors continue to adopt technology and many are using online video interactions to consistently connect with friends and family, they are using technology less for medical or therapy appointments. The survey revealed that 64% of members report using video or streaming for connecting socially with friends and family, while 41% report using video or streaming for medical and therapy appointments. About one in four members are doing exercise videos or participating in live classes over the internet. Many enjoy the option of virtual and in-person classes and nearly nine out of ten seniors surveyed who have participated in SilverSneakers digital offerings will continue to do so in the future. This is the highest retention rate as compared to all past surveys.
Fitness and Nutrition
Member engagement in fitness opportunities continues to grow, although lack of motivation remains a large barrier. More than half of members (56%) reported walking, hiking or cycling to help them maintain or get back into an exercise routine. The members also report better eating habits than at any time during all surveys (33%) compared to members who report worse eating habits, (21%). A slightly higher proportion of members are concerned their food would run out before they had money to buy more, (9%) compared to last quarter, (6%).
Tivity Health and SilverSneakers continue to survey members on a routine basis to assess the impact the pandemic has made on older adults and find new ways to address the pandemic-related health issues they may face. For more information and to view the full survey findings, visit the “Insights” section of the Tivity Health website at www.TivityHealth.com.
SilverSneakers®, by Tivity Health, is the nation’s leading community fitness program for Medicare eligible Americans. The program was founded in 1992 and is available to more than 16 million Americans through many Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers, and group retiree plans. For more information, to check eligibility or to enroll in the program or sign up for a SilverSneakers newsletter, go to silversneakers.com.