Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2021, 77-92

Original scientific paper

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults: results of descriptive research

Ivana Tucak Junaković - Odjel za psihologiju, Sveučilište u Zadru, Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV 2, 23 000 Zadar

Fulltext (croatian, pages 77-92).pdf

The results of previous research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related epidemiological measures on older adults’ quality of life and well-being are inconsistent, with some not confirming the assumed adverse effects, while others point to significant negative effects on older adults’ mental health and quality of life. The aim of this qualitative research was to examine the perceived impact of the pandemic and related epidemiological measures on Croatian older adults and their daily lives. Ninety-three communitydwelling older adults from different regions of Croatia, 65 to 90 years old, were interviewed. Three main themes were identified by the thematic analysis of the answers to the open-ended question on the impact of the pandemic and related epidemiological measures. These are the non-significant impact or good adaptation of the elderly to the pandemic and imposed measures, significant adverse and significant beneficial impact. The answers showed that the majority of interviewed older people (51%) adapted well to pandemic conditions and did not report significant changes in quality of life. However, a significant percentage (45%) highlighted the adverse impact of the pandemic, in three domains: compromised physical and mental health and general well-being, activity restrictions, and social distancing. Only four people reported positive impact of pandemic such as more frequent walks in nature, finishing some previous matters, turning to oneself, etc. The results suggest heterogeneity of the population of older people regarding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures and interventions aimed at preserving the quality of life and health in a pandemic should be targeted at all older people, but especially at-risk groups such as socially isolated and lonely older people.

COVID-19, older adults, quality of life, well-being, social distancing

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