Health

One in eight older adults suffers from depression for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic


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A new, large study of more than 20,000 older adults in Canada found that about 1 in 8 older adults experienced depression for the first time during the pandemic.

For those who have suffered from depression in the past, the numbers are even worse. By the fall of 2020, nearly half (45%) of this group said they were depressed.

Published in International journal of environmental research and public healthThe study analyzed responses from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging, which collected data from participants for an average of seven years.

“The high prevalence of first-onset depression in 2020 demonstrates the significant mental health loss the pandemic has taken on a previously healthy group of people. Elderly.” first author, Andie MacNeil, a recently graduated Master of Social Work from the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work (FIFSW) and the Institute for Life and Aging Research, University of Toronto.

Although increased rates of depression among older adults during a pandemic are known, some earlier studies have identified the percentage of people who experience it for the first time or the percentage of those who experience it for the first time. people with a history of recurrent episodes of this disorder. .

Co-author Sapriya Birk, a researcher formerly with the Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University, Ottawa, said: “The devastation of the pandemic has upended so many aspects of everyday life that have disrupted so many aspects of everyday life. affects people with a history of depression. medical student at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. “Health professionals need to be cautious in screening their patients who have mental health problems at an earlier point in their lives.”

Researchers have identified several factors that are linked to depression among older adults during the pandemic, including inadequate income and savings, loneliness, chronic pain, and difficulty accessing health care. , a history of adverse childhood experiences and family conflict.

Pre-pandemic elders say their income is not enough to meet their needs. basic demandand those with less savings are more likely to experience depression during the pandemic.

“These findings highlight the disproportionate mental health burden borne by individuals of low socioeconomic status during the pandemic,” said co-author. may have been exacerbated by the economic precariousness of the pandemic, especially for individuals with fewer resources.” Margaret de Groh, Chief Scientific Officer at Public Health Canada.

Individuals who experience various aspects of loneliness, such as feelings of abandonment, feeling isolated, and lack of companionship have a higher risk of both incidental depression and recurrent depression. about 4 to 5 times.

“It is not surprising that lockdowns are particularly difficult for older people who are isolated and lonely during the pandemic. Social connection and social support Essential for health and well-being. Co-author Ying Jiang, senior epidemiologist at Public Health Canada, said there is a need for better support and access for people in isolation.

elders in chronic pain and people who have difficulty accessing their usual health care, medications, or treatments are more likely to experience depression in the fall of 2020.

Co-author Professor Paul J. Villeneuve, Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University, Canada said: “This finding highlights the importance of streamlining service delivery to ensure health services. less disruption when future pandemics arise.”

Individuals with a history of childhood adversity were more likely to experience depression during Fall 2020. Older adults who experienced family conflict during the pandemic were at higher risk of developing depression. three times higher than those of the same age without the disease.

“Family conflict is a major stressor that can affect mental health even in the best of times. With the strict enforcement of lockdown measures and the stress of the pandemic, many Family relationships have become significantly strained. Conflict is then a major risk for depression,” said senior author, Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson at the University of Toronto’s FIFSW and director of the study. According to the Institute for Life & Aging Research.

The study was published in the journal International journal of environmental research and public health. The study included 22,622 participants in the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA), who provided data at baseline (2011–2015), subsequent wave 1 (2015–2018), and during the pandemic (September–December 2020). The impact of pandemic on depression among older Canadians may even be larger than observed because vulnerable populations are underrepresented in the CLSA.

“We hope our findings can help health and social work professionals improve screening and targeted outreach to identify and serve older adults at risk. tallest. Depression“, Andie MacNeil said.

More information:
Andie MacNeil et al., Incident and Recurrent Depression in Adults 50 Years of Age and Older During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging, International journal of environmental research and public health (2022). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph192215032

quote: One in eight older adults experiencing depression for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic (2022, November 24) retrieved November 24, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11 -older-adults-experienced-depression -covid-.html

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