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Covid-19 Fueled Depression in Older Adults: Study

Many studies have shown that the pandemic worsened mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (Image: Shutterstock)

Many studies have shown that the pandemic worsened mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (Image: Shutterstock)

Now according to new research, it has been found that the elder people are suffering a great deal of depressive symptoms

Covid-19 pandemic is leaving a devastating effect on the lives of people. Millions suffered the loss of loved ones, their livelihoods, and for many what left was a degraded mental health. Many studies have shown that the pandemic worsened mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Now according to new research from McMaster University, it has been found that the elder people are suffering a great deal of depressive symptoms with people in the lower socio-economic strata being the worst-hit.

The research, which has been published in the journal Nature Aging, showed alarming results, stating that about 43% of older adults aged 50 or above displayed “moderate or clinically high levels of depression”, during the start of the pandemic, and the trend only worsened over time.

This study, which has been done as a part of Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, was conducted by a team of Parminder Rain - the lead principal investigator, with other principal investigators being Christina Wolfson, Lauren Griffith, Susan Kirkland and others.

The researchers also noted that many elderly adults were devoid of the medical facilities as the existing healthcare was being used for the Covid-19 patients. These factors, along with other issues, added to their stress.

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It was also found that elderly people who had suffered violence of any sort were more likely to have symptoms of depression. Several other factors like unemployment, job losses, conflicts within the family or a helpless situation in which adults are not able to escape from abusive family members contribute to their mental and emotional stress.

Restrictions on social gatherings has led to distancing from the family members and in turn increased the feeling of loneliness among the elders. It has also resulted in a great number of mood disorders and increased the already existing mental illness causing huge trouble. The instances of fatigue and sleep disturbances were reported amongst the caregivers as their responsibilities and workload increased in the pandemic period.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 13:15 IST