Kenya, Nairobi – August 2020: COVID-19 rapid needs assessment of older people


With COVID-19 cases increasing and despite easing containment measures, many Kenyans, particularly older people living in Nairobi, remain at serious risk due to loss livelihoods and an inability to meet their basic needs. Therefore, HelpAge International conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment to highlight the risks older people face and to provide advocacy messages to humanitarian partners and the Kenyan government.

Key findings

76% of older people reported reducing the quantity of food eaten since the outbreak while 52% have had to reduce the quality of food eaten. Furthermore, older people are vulnerable as the majority (60%) rely on remittances as a key source of income, which is being impacted by economic fallout of COVID-19.

38% of respondents reported a lack of WASH facilities, 30% reported difficulty accessing and using WASH facilities, while 19% of older people stated that these facilities were not clean. Lack, inaccessibility, non-use and uncleanliness of WASH facilities presents a barrier to COVID-19 prevention practices.

62% of the older people interviewed had at least one health condition yet 23% reported not being able to access medication since the COVID-19 outbreak began, especially 28% of those living alone.

51% of older people felt that older women were at an increased risk of neglect and isolation. While 55% of older people felt that older men were at an increased risk of isolation and 41% of older people felt that older men were at an increased risk of denial of resources, opportunities, and services.

73% of older people interviewed reported feeling anxious and worried about the COVID-19 situation either all or most of the time while 66% felt depressed about the situation either all or most of the time. However, 60% feel they can positively cope with the situation with support from family and community.