The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has dire immediate and long-term consequences for the health and well-being of Americans. Older adults are not only at higher risk for severe illness from the disease, but are also particularly vulnerable to physical and emotional harms associated with the pandemic. For example:
- Thousands of residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not allowed to leave their rooms or receive any visitors.
- Care provided to community-dwelling older adults from home health aides and certified nursing assistants is disrupted, and visits from family and friends are discouraged or prohibited due to social distancing recommendations or shelter in place orders.
- Those who are already socially isolated and lonely face even greater disconnect, as they are increasingly unable to interact with others outside the home.
The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and well-being of older Americans are currently unknown, which limits the development of targeted public health strategies to support their short- and long-term health outcomes in the wake of this crisis.
The specific aims of this research are to:
- Investigate dynamic changes in older adults’ experiences, perspectives, daily activities, coping strategies, mental health, and well-being throughout the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic;
- Identify risk and resilience factors that influence mental health and well-being of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.