The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frail older people ageing in place alone in two Italian cities: functional limitations, care arrangements and available services
Data come from the follow-up of the main study “Inclusive ageing in place” (IN-AGE), regarding frail older people aged 65 years and over (males and females). The main study was a cross-sectional qualitative survey carried out in 2019 by face-to-face interviews to frail older people without cognitive impairment, and living at home, alone or with a private personal care assistant (PCA), in three Italian Regions: Lombardy (North), Marche (Centre) and Calabria (South). Both peripheral/degraded areas of urban sites and fragile rural locations were included, with regard to social and material vulnerability aspects (e.g. high presence of frail older people living alone, poor provision of services). The follow up was carried out in July-September 2020, and it was aimed to explore and compare effects of lockdown, due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (February-May 2020), on frail older people living alone at home in Brescia and Ancona, two urban cities located respectively in the Northern and Central Italy. This country was the Western epicenter of the first wave of the pandemic, that differently affected the two cities as for infections, with a more severe impact on the former one. The dataset (41 respondents, vs 48 in the main survey) regards available care arrangements, both informal (family members) and formal (public services), to support the performing of daily living activities (ADLs and IADLs), especially in the presence of functional limitations. The use of/access to health services (General Practitioner, Medical Specialist and other health services) was also explored. A semi-structured interview was administered by telephone due to social distancing imposed by the pandemic. Participants were asked to report possible worsening/improving (or no change/not affected) due to the pandemic. A simple quantitative analysis (frequency distribution/bivariate analysis) of closed responses was carried out by using Microsoft Excel software 2019. Analyses suggested how the lockdown and social distancing overall negatively impacted on frail older people living alone, to a different extent in Ancona and Brescia, with a better resilience of home care services in Brescia, and a greater support from the family in Ancona, where however major problems in accessing health services also emerged. Even though the study was exploratory only, also due to the small sample, that cannot be considered as representative of the target population, findings suggested that enhancing home care services, and supporting older people in accessing health services, could allow ageing in place, especially in emergency time. The dataset is provided in open format (xlsx) and includes the following: a “numeric” dataset regarding the unlabelled dimensions used for statistics elaboration; a codebook with both the complete variables list and variables labels we used. The dataset was produced within the framework of the IN-AGE project, funded by Fondazione Cariplo, Grant N. 2017-0941.