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Mental health and the pandemic: What do loneliness, caregiving, and family conflict have to do with it?

In this video, Dr. Parminder Raina discusses the recent findings on the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on middle-aged and older adults. Hear how loneliness, caregiving, and family conflict are associated with a higher likelihood of depressive symptoms and how these symptoms persist and may worsen over time. 

 

Learn the answers to the following questions:

  • How has the mental health of older adults been impacted by the pandemic?
  • What social factors have been found to have an impact?
  • What role do loneliness and family conflict play?
  • What research helped to understand this?
  • What interventions can help?

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References

  1. McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. Let’s talk: mental health and self-care strategies. (2021 Jan 26). Accessed November 1, 2021. Available from: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/hitting-the-headlines/2021/01/26/let-s-talk-mental-health-and-self-care-strategies
  2. McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. Mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020 Apr 22). Accessed November 1, 2021. Available from: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/hitting-the-headlines/2020/04/22/mental-health-amid-the-covid-19-pandemic
  3. McMaster Optimal Aging Portal. Creating a positive work environment for older adults. (2021 Aug 16). Accessed November 1, 2021. Available from: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/hitting-the-headlines/2021/08/16/creating-a-positive-work-environment-for-older-adults
  4. Raina P, Wolfson C, Griffith L, et al. A longitudinal analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of middle-aged and older adults from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Nat Aging. 2021.
  5. Fancourt D, Steptoe A, Bu F. Trajectories of anxiety and depressive symptoms during enforced isolation due to COVID-19 in England: a longitudinal observational study. Lancet. 2021; 8(2):141-149.
  6. Mueller AL, McNamara MS, Sinclair DA. Why does COVID-19 disproportionately affect older people? Aging. 2020; 12(10):9959-9981.
  7. Pierce M, Hope H, Ford T, et al. Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population. Lancet. 2020; 7(10):838-892.
  8. Shanahan L, Steinhoff A, Bechtiger L, et al. Emotional distress in young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence of risk and resilience from a longitudinal cohort study. Psychological Medicine. 2020:1-10.
  9. Brookes SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet. 2020; 395(10227):912-920.
  10. Coyle CE, Dugan E. Social isolation, loneliness and health among older adults. Journal of Aging and Health. 2012;24(8):1346-1363.
  11. López J, Perez-Rojo G, Noriega C, et al. Psychological well-being among older adults during the COVID-19 outbreak: A comparative study of the young–old and the old–old adults. International Psychogeriatrics. 2020;32(11):1365-1370.
  12. Wolfson JA, Garcia T, Leung CW. Food insecurity Is associated with depression, anxiety, and stress: Evidence from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Healthy Equity. 2021; 5(1):64-71.

Acknowledgements

This work is supported through the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and funds provided by the Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. 

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.

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