Physical Function & Mobility Affected in Older Adults After COVID-19 Infection

Physical Function & Mobility Affected in Older Adults After COVID-19 Infection

A study conducted beginning in April 2020 analyzed the effects of COVID-19 in older adults. McKnight’s reports the study concluded those diagnosed or suspected to be positive were two-fold more likely to have limited physical function and worsening mobility compared to those who didn’t contract the illness. 

The study included over 24,000 older and middle-aged adults based in Canada and followed them for about seven to eight months. Most participants did not require hospitalization and had mild symptoms. 

About a quarter of the participants had worsening physical function that limited their ability to participate in activities. About 9 percent were limited even for their ability to move at home and in their ability to perform house related work.



In comparison to the group that participated in the study prior to the pandemic, about 15% said to have an unprecedented difficulty when standing after sitting and 10% were unable to walk stairs without assistance. About 11% reported difficulty in their ability to walk two to three blocks in their neighborhoods. 

Parminder Raina, Ph.D., of the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University, writes that older adults who have experienced mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms should get priority for rehab therapy. The clinicians of Cornerstone Rehab are skilled to provide physical, occupational and speech therapy services to older adults who and are in a skilled nursing setting. 

Raina and colleagues stated, “Taken together with previous work, our results suggest a need for approaches to effectively restore functional mobility to pre-disease levels after COVID-19. It is recommended that approaches that promote gradual activity and enhance social, cultural, and financial support may help with managing post-COVID-19 conditions.”