Apr 8, 2020

Findings by Trinity Ageing Researchers to Help National Coronavirus Response

TILDA researchers have published a slew of new data that will help formulate policy on limiting the spread of the virus among older people.

Emma DonohoeScience & Research Correspondent

The Trinity-based Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) is publishing a slew of reports on age-based health issues to help Ireland respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The findings from three reports – published today – have helped highlight risk factors for older people as Ireland battle’s to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Researchers from the centre, which is based in Trinity, have unearthed new findings when it comes to older people with chronic conditions and the living conditions of frail people.


The findings should help the government formulate policy proposals – including measures for older people “cocooning” as a result of the virus.

TILDA, set up in 2009, is attempting to “provide rapid analysis of its latest data to inform and assist the national response to the COVID-19 crisis”.

One report found that there are 638,000 adults in Ireland living with three or more chronic diseases, who are considered a high risk when it comes to the virus.

In a press statement, Prof Rose Anne Kenny, a principal investigator at TILDA, said the “purpose of the reports is to raise awareness of how common these high-risk groups are, nationally and at a county level, and how many people are at highest risk”.

She added: “Older persons and those with pre-existing chronic conditions are most likely to experience severe consequences from COVID-19.”

People who are frail – 42 per cent of those over 70 – are at increased risk of unpredictable health deterioration following infection, according to a second report published today.

Some 12,200 people over 70 are living alone with frailty, the report found, and more than half the adults in this age bracket are without any form of informal care or formal support.

Dr Aisling O’Halloran, the lead author of the report on physical frailty, said in a press release that the coronavirus pandemic “can make ageing populations even more susceptible to greater health risks”.

“This report”, she added, “aims to inform the Government, HSE and public on the prevalence of frailty across Ireland and to emphasise the importance of proactively increasing support for older people who live with frailty in the community, especially those cocooning and living alone”.

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