Walgreens study: Seniors are less socially active now than before pandemic

As society moves past the impacts of this pandemic, the reality for many of the nation’s more than 41 million seniors is that they still feel concerned about getting sick.

This finding comes from The Walgreens COVID-19 Pulse Check, a quantitative study commissioned by Walgreens, which surveyed over 1,000 senior adults aged 55 years old and older in the U.S. about their feelings on socializing after the pandemic.

The survey reveals that an estimated 17 million (42%) seniors agreed they are less socially active now than before the pandemic. Additionally, an estimated 8.2 million (20%) of seniors feel lonelier now than before the pandemic.

The research also reveals that seniors are missing activities they enjoyed pre-pandemic due to COVID-19 exposure anxiety, which is still prevalent in the senior community:

  • 60% are worried about seeing friends regularly and attending family gatherings;
  • 36% miss going on vacation;
  • 28% miss going shopping or running errands;
  • 19% miss being connected to their local community; and
  • 15% miss the independence of doing things for themselves, like shopping.

[Read more: 3 Walgreens team members under 40 recognized for championing minority health]

This feeling of concern around socialization increases for the Black senior community aged 55 years old and older. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) of these seniors report feeling socially isolated, 13 percentage points higher than the total population of those aged 55 years old and older. In addition, over 4 in 10 (43%) seniors in the Black community reported limiting what they do and where they go in fear of catching COVID-19–16 percentage points higher than the total population of those aged 55 years old and older.

When seniors think about their confidence in socializing, The Walgreens COVID-19 Pulse Check found 70% of seniors are more confident socializing when the people they are around are vaccinated against COVID-19 and other viruses like flu, shingles and pneumonia.

To help create inclusive communities and unlock the joy of aging, Walgreens Seniors Day fosters an accessible, safe and supported environment, the retailer said. Patients aged 55 years old and older and their caregivers can save 20% off eligible regular-priced merchandise on the first Tuesday of every month or online all week with code SENIOR20 at checkout (Sunday-Saturday of that week).

At checkout, seniors should let a Walgreens team member know they are shopping with the Seniors Day discount for the savings to apply to their purchase. In addition, those with Medicare Advantage over-the-counter benefits are encouraged to ask team members how to take advantage of their benefits while in the store.

Walgreens shared that its pharmacy teams are trained to support the senior population through pharmacy services, including Save A Trip Refill, 90-day prescription fills and refill reminders designed to make medication management easier, keeping them healthy and avoiding hospitalization.

[Read more: Retailer of the Year 2021: Walgreens seizes its omnichannel opportunity]

The retailer noted that no-cost at-home COVID-19 tests are available with most insurance plans through May 11, 2023. After that, limits apply to the number of tests covered per person per month. Walgreens brand at-home COVID-19 tests provide an affordable option with a deeper discount on Senior Day. Walgreens pharmacy team members can help customers use their pharmacy benefits to get over-the-counter test kits through their insurance.

“As a trusted healthcare destination, we’re giving customers another testing option to stay ahead of COVID-19 with our Walgreens brand at-home COVID-19 test, broadening our assortment in stores and online,” said Luke Rauch, Walgreens chief merchandising officer and senior vice president. “In addition to tests, we offer an assortment of Walgreens brand products that offer a great everyday value and are designed to meet our consumers’ needs.”

To help further protect this senior community more at risk from, and concerned about, COVID-19, shingles and pneumonia, Walgreens pharmacy team members are available during Seniors Days and every day to make getting vaccinated simple. This includes the recently approved additional bivalent (updated) COVID-19 dose for those ages aged 65 years old and older and certain immunocompromised individuals. Customers can schedule a vaccine appointment online, via the myWalgreens app or by calling (800)-WALGREENS, available in both Spanish and English.

Additionally, Walgreens said that with more than 85,000 healthcare service providers, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurse practitioners, Walgreens offers customers with more complex health needs easy access to the medications, treatments and products they need to keep safe and well. This includes products from walkers and hearing aids along with Walgreens brand line of vitamins with a range of products like calcium, iron and Vitamin C.

Making it even easier for seniors to get the products they want and need, Walgreens now offers 24-Hour delivery. Available around the clock, seven days a week, from more than 600 participating stores nationwide, customers can get last-minute needs like groceries, over-the-counter medications, personal care items, household necessities and more. In addition, 30-minute pickup makes it easy to shop at their local store via Walgreens.com or the myWalgreens app and have items ready for pickup in-store or curbside in as little as 30 minutes.

The Walgreens COVID-19 Pulse Check Study is a quantitative survey of 1,048 adults aged 55 years old and older conducted Feb. 17–18, 2023, using an online data collection methodology. The survey was fielded by Dynata, a global survey vendor, and was commissioned by Walgreens.

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