For four items in UJACAS there were recurrent comments that indicated that respondents had been affected by the pandemic situation regarding one or more of the facets: will to act, ability to act, opportunity to act, or frequency or extent of doing the activity (Table 1).
Participating in events
Because many events were cancelled due to pandemic-related restrictions, the responses to the item participating in events had been affected. One respondent commented:
“I have been engaged a lot in organizations but now I just can´t.”
To some extent, participating in online events was mentioned as an alternative providing new opportunities to participate in events that otherwise had been difficult to attend, for example, due to the need to travel. One respondent who lived far from the capital had positive experiences:
“There are so many events to participate in, everything is digital, I can join events in Stockholm now, I never could do that before!”
In contrast to such positive experiences, others expressed the lack of social contacts leading to less motivation to participate, or that too many digital events were experienced as strenuous:
“It is so exhausting with everything online, I can´t stand yet another online meeting.”
The item exercising was discussed by several participants in terms of that there was no clear-cut line between strenuous activity and less demanding activity. Overall, the responses to this item did not indicate that respondents had reduced their engagement in exercise but rather changed the type of exercise they did:
“I haven´t been able to go to water aerobics, instead I have done other activities such as going for walks“.
In relation to the item maintaining friendships comments from the respondents indicated that there were differences both regarding whether a person worked or not and whether he/she cohabited or lived alone. For those working, the need for social relations was to some extent met despite the pandemic situation, and the energy to engage in further social contacts outside working hours was limited. In contrast, those who did not work expressed that they needed to actively engage to maintain friendships and social contacts.
“It is difficult now, but we call each other and meet in the garden.”
“We have met every other week, but we kept a distance and could see each other.”
Getting to know new people
For the item getting to know new people respondents expressed lack of motivation as well as restricted opportunities due to the pandemic.
“I just don’t want it right now. It is not like I use to be but I just haven´t had the surge during the pandemic. Even if I had wanted, there has been a lack of opportunities.”
Once again, whether the respondent worked or not seemed to have an impact on the responses to this item:
“I don´t have that kind of social need privately. As part of my work, I look for new contacts. I don´t have the energy or motivation to do that in my leisure time as well.”
Item responses not affected
For 13 of the 17 UJACAS items, there were no comments that indicated that the will to act, ability to act, opportunity to act, or frequency or extent of doing the activity had been affected by the pandemic situation (Table 1).
Differentiating between facets of active ageing
Several respondents had difficulties to differentiate between the ability and opportunity to act. After clarifications from the administrators, their replies clearly indicated that the ability to act was not affected by pandemic-related restrictions whereas opportunities to act were. However, as described by some respondents, low mood and anxiety associated with a fear of being lonely or being infected by COVID-19 resulted in a restricted ability to act. As described above, the will to act was reduced specifically for the item getting to know new people.