WHILL Co., Ltd. 3 years after the corona epidemic: Announcing the results of a survey on the impact of going out and social participation in the senior generation

Three years after the corona epidemic: Announcing the results of a survey on the impact of going out and social participation in the senior generation
~Half of the respondents still have not returned to pre-pandemic levels in terms of frequency of going out and social participation. Due to prolonged refraining from going out, the physical strength and motivation for life are declining, and this tendency is noticeable among seniors who find it difficult to walk.

WHILL Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Osamu Sugie, hereinafter “WHILL”) will offer men and women aged 65 and over nationwide from December 6 (Tuesday) to 16 (Friday), 2022. For 600 people, we conducted a survey on the impact of going out and social participation in the senior generation before the epidemic of the new coronavirus (hereinafter “corona”), the corona crisis, and the with corona era.
■ Survey background
About three years have passed since the beginning of 2020, when the corona epidemic began, and with the relaxation of movement
restrictions and the implementation of “National Travel Assistance”, more and more people enjoy traveling and going out, and it seems that daily life is gradually returning. I can see it. In August 2020, WHILL conducted a survey on changes in seniors’ outings and social participation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and found that about 70% of seniors had less frequency of going out and less involvement in society than before the pandemic. I understand.
This time, three years after the epidemic, we conducted a new survey to find out what changes have actually occurred in the awareness and behavior of the senior generation, while comparing the most recent comparisons between pre-corona and the peak of the epidemic. Please use it as a material for news reports.
■Survey overview
◇ Survey method: Conducted by WEB questionnaire method
◇ Survey target: Men and women aged 65 and over nationwide
◇ Number of valid responses: 600 men and women aged 65 and over (average age 74.3)
            300 people who felt difficulty walking / 300 people who did not feel difficulty walking
◇ Survey implementation date: December 6 (Tuesday) to 16 (Friday), 2022 ■Summary
・ Half of the respondents said that they still go out less frequently than they did before the outbreak of the coronavirus. Along with this, social interaction has similarly declined, and despite measures to encourage people to go out, such as “National Travel Support”, it has not yet recovered to the pre-corona level.
・No major changes in daily outings (shopping, going to the hospital, etc.) compared to pre-coronavirus. On the other hand, the number of people who answered that they go out for socializing with friends and neighbors, mainly for indoor hobby activities, is still half of what it was before COVID-19.
・Participation in society has decreased due to refraining from going out, refraining from using public transportation, and declining physical strength and legs due to the corona crisis. As for the effects of reduced involvement with society, many respondents said that they lost motivation to go out, lost self-confidence, and a decline in their motivation to live, such as “everything has become troublesome.” This tendency is particularly noticeable among seniors who find it difficult to walk.
1. Opportunities to go out and increase/decrease in interaction with people Compared to before the corona epidemic (before February 2020) and now (December 2022, at the time of the survey), about half of the respondents answered that both the frequency of going out and interacting with people* have decreased/slightly decreased. (47.5%, 48%) did. From September 2022 onwards, despite the start of “National Travel Assistance”, only about 10% of respondents answered that the frequency of going out and social interaction “increased/slightly increased”.
In addition, about 30% (27.2%) of the number of times they went out “almost every day” before COVID-19, but has now decreased by 8.5 points. Even after September 2022, one in three people answered that they would spend less than “one day a week” (31.5%), and those who answered that they “rarely or never go out” almost doubled compared to before Corona. (Fig. 1).
[Image 1

* Interacting with people refers to interacting and communicating with people (conversation, phone calls, emails, etc.).
2. Change in purpose of going out
Looking at outings** by purpose, there were no major changes in going out for daily needs such as shopping or going to the hospital, or outings related to one person or family, even when compared to before COVID-19.
On the other hand, socializing with friends and neighbors, and going out mainly for indoor hobby activities have both declined
significantly compared to the present. , Theater and movie viewing decreased by 48%.
In addition, in the free-text responses, many seniors answered that although shopping has become more convenient thanks to the use of the Internet, they feel sad that they are no longer able to go out to eat or meet with friends. I was there.
**Going out refers to going out of the premises of the house, such as going shopping or going for a walk in the neighborhood.
3. Effects of reduced involvement with society
More than 40% of respondents said that they “felt a decline in physical strength and physical strength” as a result of having less time to go out and interact with society. In addition, the top answers indicated a decline in motivation to live (Fig. 2).
In addition, seniors who have difficulty walking said, “I felt a decline in my physical strength and body (legs, etc.),” ​​”It became a hassle to go out,” “I became troubled by everything,” and “I lost confidence in going out.” was particularly high, and was two to three times more likely than seniors who did not feel difficulty walking. There is physical weakness and negative emotional recollections about going out.
[Image 2

         【Figure 2: Impact of reduced involvement with society (multiple answers, %)】
4. Regarding the relationship between the decrease in frequency of going out and the decline in willingness to go out
Nearly half of the respondents answered that they had the experience of “going out less → going out becomes more troublesome → going out further decreases” (Fig. 3). Looking at the breakdown, it was found that seniors who felt difficulty walking were particularly likely to do so (63%), and the difference was nearly three times that of seniors who did not feel difficulty walking.
On the other hand, 368 seniors who had decreased the frequency of going out or interacting with society were asked, “Do you think that if you have more opportunities to go out, you will be more positive about being involved with society?” When asked, nearly 90% (86.9%) answered that they “think they can” (Fig. 4). Even in the free description, “I have refrained from going out to places I want to go due to the corona crisis, but I want to be able to go out with my friends freely”, “In my head, I am thinking about increasing the opportunities to walk outside as much as possible, but it is not easy. It can be seen that some seniors are reluctant to do so due to concerns about infection and concerns about their legs and physical strength.
[Image 3

[Figure 3: Percentage of seniors who experienced “going out less → going out becomes more troublesome → going out less” (%)]
[Image 4

[Figure 4: Percentage (%) of seniors who responded that they would be more positive about engaging with society if they had more
opportunities to go outside]
■ Mr. Katsuya Iijima Comment
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Doctor Doctor of Medicine
The University of Tokyo Institute of Gerontology Director, Future Vision Research Center Professor
After graduating from the Jikei University School of Medicine, worked as an assistant and lecturer in the Department of Aging Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, and as a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the United States.・Director and professor of Future Vision Research Center. He has served as a member of the Cabinet Office’s “National Council for Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens”, a member of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s “Expert Council on the Integrated Implementation of Health Services and Long-term Care Prevention for the Elderly”, and a member of the Science Council of Japan’s “Aging Subcommittee”.
“The corona problem has had a major impact on all generations, but it has left a particularly large negative footprint on the elderly. There are quite a few cases where people have lost their lives and even lost their lives.Another element that should not be forgotten is “corona frailty.” Even the resident elderly people were forced to live inactively, and this inactivity led to frailty, a so-called corona frailty as a secondary health hazard. When comparing the frailty check activities among residents nationwide, compared with before the corona, muscle weakness (sarcopenia) progresses, nutritional imbalances increase, cognitive function declines, and family Also, it was found that the fluency of the tongue has decreased remarkably because it is not possible to have a conversation in a community exchange.
However, not only the initial changes but also two years of follow-up revealed new findings. First of all, there is a certain percentage of elderly people who do not show any decline in mental and physical functions even during this corona crisis, and even though they are thoroughly preventing corona infection, they have not stopped various regional exchanges and regional activities. . In addition, even among those who showed various functional declines, there are quite a few who gradually resumed their activities after vaccination and gradually recovered their decreased physical functions. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that there are many elderly people who have lost even the minimum independence function through this self-restraint life and have reached an irreversible level. There are cases where elderly people who used to go shopping by themselves on public transportation buses are no longer able to even ride buses. Both physical and cognitive functions have declined rapidly over the past two years. The reality is that the elderly cannot easily retrain their bodies through muscle training, etc., like the working generation, and rather they move their bodies as a result of community activities and exchanges. Taking full advantage of our early experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have carefully considered both infection prevention and community interaction, and skillfully resumed “places to gather, places to enjoy conversations by making the most of bonds” in the community. It should be increased gradually.
Therefore, even if the decline in the legs has progressed, you can use WHILL and other means of transportation more easily than ever before, first go out, or enjoy it with everyone while riding WHILL on the go. There are many convenient ways to use it. Instead of hesitating to ride, you can see a new scenery by taking the plunge and making a big move. First of all, let’s take a step forward. You will surely be able to meet a new world view and a new self.
The measures that are needed right now are: “Let’s be wise and fearful of corona infection, but never lower the level of your daily life, and actively go out! Let’s not stop the gears of
resident-centered activities! is important. Now is the time to courageously take on the challenge of building a new community under industry-government-academia-citizen collaboration.”
*Click here for the survey release conducted in August 2020. https://whill.inc/jp/news/28585
■ WHILL user example (Mr. H’s daughter)
“Before I got on the WHILL, I used to go out by bicycle and walk on my own feet, but due to the pain in my legs and the corona epidemic, I stopped going outside. I gave WHILL as a gift, hoping that it would encourage them to go out even just a little bit.Since I started using it, I’ve started taking walks in the neighborhood and going shopping at the nearby supermarket, and I’m glad I did. It’s been almost a year since I started using WHILL, but recently I’ve become more positive and motivated, and I’m starting to walk again on my own, which I hadn’t done before.”
■ About WHILL
WHILL is a short-distance mobility vehicle that can run in walking areas without a license. The Model C2 is characterized by its sophisticated design, overcoming 5cm bumps, the ability to make one turn around the rear wheel on the spot, and smooth ride comfort thanks to the rear suspension, while the Model F is lightweight and foldable. Model. Model S is WHILL’s first scooter type that can run on sidewalks, and with a handle, it can run more stably and for a longer time, making it a model suitable for after returning a license or changing from a bicycle. You can choose according to your physical condition and transportation needs.
About the product: https://whill.inc/jp/
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-About WHILL-
WHILL is developing products and services for short-distance transportation around the world with the mission of “Making everyone’s mobility fun and smart”. Founded in Japan in May 2012, we established bases in the United States in April 2013, the Netherlands in August 2018, and China in December 2019. Developing 3 businesses:
short-distance mobility WHILL sales, rental services, and sharing services. In the sales and rental services business, WHILL, which has high design and operability, has been developed in more than 20 countries and regions. I’m here. In the sharing service business, we provide a platform that allows anyone to travel safely and comfortably to their destination in a spot by utilizing both forms of automatic driving and manual driving. Through our three pillars of business, we will build a world that allows you to run not only on sidewalks but also indoors, and connect to any place that you could not reach with other means of transportation.
Details about this release:



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