Number of Dutch adults with memory issues SPIKED after the pandemic

Wondering what the long-term effects of the pandemic are? Well, it seems that memory and concentration issues are two that many Dutch adults are facing.

According to the NOS, research done by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Netherlands Institute for Health Care Research (Nivel) showed a large increase in the number of adults visiting their GP for memory and concentration problems.

Many ages impacted

Adults between the ages of 45 and 74 visited doctors more often for cognitive issues in the first quarter of 2023. How much more, you ask? A whopping 40% more people from this age group sought help for the same issues compared to 2019.

“It is a development that worries us,” says Michel Dückers, professor by special appointment of Crisis, Safety and Health in Groningen and the research leader on behalf of RIVM and Nivel. 

It’s not only adults who are over 45 that are struggling with memory problems — 31% more people between the ages of 25 and 44 are also visiting their GP more often for the same reason. There was also an 18% increase for individuals over 75 years old.

“We still don’t know much about the long-term effects, but the picture is now emerging that the pandemic can lead to faster cognitive ageing on a significant scale,” Dückers tells NOS.

While COVID-19 hasn’t been proven to be the main cause yet, researchers believe it fits with what they know about the effects of the pandemic.

COVID-19’s effect on memory

So, what is causing the cognitive issues? Well, remember when we were all home alone and bored during lockdown — social isolation like this can actually accelerate cognitive decline. 

This is seen in people who did not get infected by COVID-19 but had early dementia during the pandemic. They deteriorated faster than expected. 

READ MORE | Save those COVID-19 tests: Dutch government decides self-tests are no longer necessary

Some people who did get contract a coronavirus infection have experienced long-lasting issues, such as memory and concentration problems. 

The flu and other infectious diseases can also cause these complaints, but it is more common after getting the coronavirus. 

Have you experienced memory and concentration issues after the pandemic? Tell us in the comments.

Feature Image:Freepik
Simone Jacobs
Simone Jacobs
Originally from South Africa, Simone is having fun navigating the Dutch language, steep stairs, and bicycles (which she still manages to fall off of with her short, non-Dutch legs). An animal lover at heart, Simone can typically be found under her (growing?) mound of cats, where she uses the opportunity to read, write, and watch video compilations of creatures.

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