Oak Street Health One Year Pandemic Survey Reveals Older Adults Most Focused on Family and Friends
CHICAGO, IL — March, 16 2021 — After one year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oak Street Health, a network of primary care centers that delivers value-based care to adults on Medicare, surveyed those 65+ order to understand how the pandemic has impacted them in the last 12 months and to determine anticipated behavior or lifestyle changes moving forward.
According to the survey, maintaining relationships with friends and/or family was listed as the healthy habit most difficult to sustain since the start of the pandemic. Regular exercise was the second most difficult habit to maintain and maintaining a positive mindset / mental health was third.
In line with that reflection, older adults surveyed are most looking forward to rekindling those relationships once it’s safe to do so. Fifty-two percent of older adults surveyed reported that they are planning to visit with family or friends more in the coming year. Eleven percent are planning to take more time for themselves, and 4% reported that they plan to move to a new city or state or start a new hobby respectively.
“The last year has presented challenges that have been difficult for older adults, both physically and mentally. Even with vaccine rollout, it’s critical that we continue to encourage and abide by precautions, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance from those outside of the household,” said Dr. Olaoluwa Fayanju, Senior Medical Director of Oak Street Health. “It’s important to hold on to optimism and forward-thinking plans, like visiting family and friends more often after the pandemic. As physicians, we should be committed to keeping communication strong and caring for those that need it most while the pandemic enters a second year.“
Additional key themes from the survey included:
- Older adults are relying on the federal government to determine when to stop wearing masks. More than half (56%) of older adults surveyed indicated they will stop wearing masks when federal government officials declare that it’s safe to resume daily activities without wearing a mask or face covering. Comparatively, the second highest group surveyed (20%) said they will stop wearing a mask when they feel COVID-19 cases are reported as declining significantly enough.
- Nearly half of older adults (46%) say they would not have done anything differently at the outset of the pandemic. However, 30% said they would have exercised more frequently, 21% said they would have watched less news/media, and 15% would have established a healthy diet earlier.
- Only 1 in 5 older adults indicated that regular check-ins with their doctor were difficult to maintain since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, since the start of the pandemic, the majority of older adults surveyed (82%) said that their relationship, trust level and communication with their primary care doctor has not changed – a nod to the proactive efforts of physicians through the challenges of the pandemic.
In an effort to ensure its older adult patients had access to the critical primary care they needed, Oak Street Health swiftly transitioned more than 90% of patient visits to telehealth appointments, conducted more than 50,000 patient wellness calls and transformed its fleet of vans, typically used to transport patients to and from appointments, into a delivery service to provide more than 12,000 food and medical supply deliveries to homebound seniors. Through the creation of its Covid Care Disease Management Program, Oak Street Health treated more than 7,000 patients with suspected or confirmed infections.
Now, Oak Street Health is playing a leading role in vaccination efforts to proactively educate, outreach and vaccinate senior patients and other at-risk community members in communities of color.
To learn more about Oak Street Health’s value-based primary care model, click here.
About Oak Street Health
Founded in 2012, Oak Street Health is a network of value-based primary care centers for adults on Medicare. With a mission of rebuilding healthcare as it should be, the company operates an innovative healthcare model focused on quality of care over volume of services, and assumes the full financial risk of its patients. Oak Street Health currently operates more than 80 centers across 12 states. To learn more about Oak Street Health’s proven approach to care, visit oakstreethealth.com.