Study launched to investigate impact of lockdown on older people


Someone filling out a survey

A new study looking at how older people are affected by COVID-19 lockdown measures has been set up by researchers from across the Faculty of Medicine.

Individuals in the UK who have been deemed high risk due to their age or pre-existing conditions have been advised to take extra precautions and shield for several months, but little is known about the wider impact of these lockdown measures. 

The CHARIOT COVID-19 Rapid Response (CCRR) study aims to provide estimates on the number of participants who have already had COVID-19, and to measure the impact of the epidemic and lockdown measures on mental and physical well-being. The research will look at how various lifestyle, medical, social and mental health factors influence people’s vulnerability and resilience.

The findings from the study will also contribute to the prevention of age-related disease and help improve tailored care for this age group.

The study is initially inviting 40,000 participants of the Chariot Register, held at Imperial College to complete a weekly survey of symptoms for up to a year, with additional questions every six weeks on physical activities, sleep, mood and daily tasks.

Professor Helen Ward, Professor of Public Health said: “This is a really important study and it is excellent that we have been able to get this collaboration up and running so quickly.

“While most research is focusing on the impact of lockdown on the coronavirus epidemic itself, it is crucial that we also assess the wider impact on people’s health and wellbeing, including mental health.”

The CHARIOT register

The study builds on the CHARIOT register, an existing research register of participants in London who are aged 50 or over. First initiated in 2012 and developed with industry funding as a collaboration between the School of Public Health, GP practices and community organisations in London, the register includes .40,000 individuals aged 50-85 who are willing to participate in studies of health ageing and dementia prevention.

In the first 24 hours of the call for participants one in four of invited CHARIOT members agreed to take part.

Professor Lefkos Middleton, Chair in Clinical Neurology said: “Several thousands of CHARIOT members have already volunteered to take part in health research, and thanks to them we will be able to get some rapid answers to key questions. We don’t know how much the restrictions are affecting older people, but we assume that many will be facing increased problems due to the combination of reduced exercise, social isolation and changes in access to healthcare as well as any direct effects of COVID-19.”

The CCRR study team includes researchers from Imperial School of Public Health, the National Heart and Lung Institute, the Department of Surgery & Cancer and the Department of Bioengineering and Computing. The study has received ethics approval from the National Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Joint Research Compliance Office (JRCO).

Find out more about the CHARIOT register and how you can get involved.


Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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Public-health, Coronavirus, School-of-Public-Health
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