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In response to the COVID19-epidemic threat, the Finnish government encouraged older adults to keep at safe distance from anyone outside the own household, while simultaneously closing popular activity destinations, such as gyms, restaurants and activity centers, thus, essentially limiting mobility and opportunities for activity. Changes in opportunities for activities in living environment may be reflected as changes in activity behaviour. Considering the duration of governmental measures during COVID19 pandemic, such changes may potentially have long-term effects, even though resuming activities post-COVID19 restrictions is also possible.

In the ESPACE project, our aim is to study trajectories of daily activity behavior in older adults from pre-COVID19 to at-, and post-COVID19, and to study its underlying environmental factors, while accounting for personal factors. Utilization of novel map-based research methods enables us to consider spatial aspects of activity, thus, the activity environment.

We will use data from AGNES cohort study, collected pre-COVID19 (2017-2018), at-COVID19 (spring 2020), and post-COVID19 (10/2021 – 10/2022) from 75-to 85-year-old adults living in Jyväskylä. ESPACE contributes to the latest follow-up assessments of the full cohort, including e.g., traditional questionnaires (e.g., health, function and mobility) and map-based questionnaires (activities and activity locations).

ESPACE provides a unique research opportunity generating scientifically and societally relevant knowledge advancing our understanding of government elicited mobility-restricting guidelines and its long-term consequences for older adults’ activity behavior. Furthermore, it may provide ideas on how the environment may support activity in old age.

Research group
Principal Investigator
Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Kirsi Keskinen, Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä.

Associate Professor, Rosalind Franklin Fellow, Erja Portegijs, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Professor Taina Rantanen, University of Jyväskylä

Doctoral researcher MSc. Essi-Mari Tuomola, Gerontology Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä. Research topic: The built and natural environment, activity locations and active aging: association before, during and after COVID-19 pandemic

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