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It’s not over: Studies show that COVID-19 pandemic depression persists among the elderly

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Loneliness is the most important predictor of worsening depressive symptoms, and other pandemic-related stressors, such as family conflict, also increased odds.

Loneliness is the most important predictor of worsening depressive symptoms, and other pandemic-related stressors, such as family conflict, also increased odds. & Nbsp | & nbspPhoto Credits: & nbspiStockImages

Main highlights

  • This study was published in the journal Nature Aging.
  • Long-term care responsibilities, family separation, family conflict, and loneliness were associated with an increased likelihood of moderate or high levels of depressive symptoms that worsened over time.
  • Overall, older people were twice as likely to have depressive symptoms during the pandemic as compared to before the pandemic.

Washington: According to a new study at McMaster University, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of the elderly living in the community, making lonely people much worse.

This study was published in the journal Nature Aging.

Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA), a national team of researchers found that 43% of adults over the age of 50 experienced moderate or high levels of depressive symptoms at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over time I discovered that it increased.

Loneliness is the most important predictor of worsening depressive symptoms, and other pandemic-related stressors, such as family conflict, also increased odds.

The study was led by Palminder Reina, a professor of the Faculty of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, and Science Director of the McMaster Aging Institute.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has a disproportionate impact on older people, and groups of people who have already been marginalized are experiencing a much greater negative impact,” said Linna, a senior researcher at CLSA.

“People who are socially isolated, in poor health, and have poor socio-economic status have worse depression compared to pre-pandemic depression collected as part of Canada’s longitudinal study since 2011. Was likely to be. “

The research team included Christina Wolfson of McGill University, Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University, Lauren Griffith of McMaster, and a national team of researchers.

Using telephone and web survey data, they used health-related factors and social determinants such as income and social participation, following the first blockade from March 2020 and the first wave of COVID-19. In Canada, we investigated how it affected the prevalence of depressive symptoms after resumption.

Long-term care responsibilities, separation from the family, family conflict, and loneliness were associated with an increased likelihood of moderate or high levels of depressive symptoms that worsened over time.

Women were also more likely to have higher odds of depressive symptoms during a pandemic than men, and more women reported separation from their families, increased care time, and barriers to care.

Overall, older people were twice as likely to have depressive symptoms during the pandemic as compared to before the pandemic. However, those with low incomes and poor health were more affected, either because of their existing health or health concerns reported during the pandemic.

“These findings suggest that the negative effects of pandemics on mental health may persist and may worsen over time, addressing pandemic stressors and impacting older people’s mental health. We emphasize the need for coordinated interventions to mitigate the problem, “Raina added.

The findings show the first published COVID-19 study born from CLSA. It is a national research platform for aging, including recruitment of more than 50,000 community-dwelling middle-aged and elderly people. The platform is funded by the Government of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health and the Canadian Innovation Foundation.

Additional funding for the CLSA COVID-19 Questionnaire was provided by the Durabinsky Institute, McMaster University, McMaster Aging Institute, Novascosia COVID-19 Health Research Association, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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