Image of senior woman with a mask looking wistfully out a door

Quarantine measures associated with COVID-19 appear to affect cognitive performance in nursing home residents and older adults regardless of whether an actual SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis exists. The likely causes for this common decline include the burdens of social isolation and containment initiated to control COVID-19. That’s according to a new study published in the May issue of JAMDA.

The study, which investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the level of frailty, physical, and cognitive performance in nursing home residents, included those infected with the COVID-19 virus and a control group of never-infected residents. In both the case and control groups there was a similar 10% decrease in Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores over the study period. In terms of physical performance and fraility, the study determined that COVID-19 can accelerate the aging process by around 20%.

Study authors say, “The fact that we found no differences in [cognitive] decline between cases and controls suggests the possible burden attributable to preventive measures and social restriction could have involved all the nursing home residents.”