BACKGROUND: Older people with limited health literacy may encounter difficulties in finding relevant information on COVID-19, understanding its relevance, and complying with recommended protective measures. Complying with such recommendations has required older as well as younger persons to change their daily lives in ways that have reduced their opportunities for engaging in many activities meaningful to them.
AIMS: To find out from what sources older people have obtained information on protective measures, the level of their coronavirus-related health literacy (CHL), and whether CHL is associated with their perceptions of the restrictiveness of coronavirus-related protective measures.
METHODS: 696 Finnish men and women aged over 77 answered a mailed questionnaire on their CHL, sources of information and perceptions of the restrictiveness of the recommended protective measures. The association of CHL with perceived restrictiveness was studied using multinomial logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Television and newspapers were the most frequently reported sources of information. Reporting high confidence in the ability to assess how one's behavior influences coronavirus infection risk was associated with higher odds of perceiving the protective measures to be highly restrictive, when controlling for age, gender, and difficulty in using digital devices (OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.09, 9.46).
DISCUSSION: Participants who reported being highly confident about their ability to appraise the influence of their behavior on their susceptibility to coronavirus infection were more likely to perceive that the recommended protective measures had restricted their daily lives.
CONCLUSIONS: Health literacy plays a role in complying with recommended restrictions.