Toronto: Nearly 1 in 8 older adults will be affected depression for the first time during the period pandemic, according to a study conducted in Canada. The number of people who had experienced depression in the past was even worse, the study said. By the fall of 2020, nearly half (45%) of this group of 20,000 older adults reported being depressed.
Researchers at the University of Toronto analyzed responses from a Canadian longitudinal study on aging that collected data from participants for an average of seven years, the study said.
“The high rate of first-onset depression in 2020 mental health The pandemic has taken its toll on a previously mentally healthy group of older adults,” said lead author Andy McNeill of the University of Toronto.
Although it is well known that the prevalence of depression among older adults has surged during the pandemic, previous studies have not shown the proportion of people experiencing depression for the first time or those with a history of the disorder who have experienced relapses. Few specified the percentage of people. said the study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
“The devastation of the pandemic, which has upended so many aspects of daily life, has hit people with a history of depression particularly hard,” said co-author Sapriya Burke.
“Medical professionals need to pay attention to patient screening. mental health issues early in their lives,” Burke said.
Researchers have identified several factors associated with depression in older adults during the pandemic. These include inadequate income and savings, loneliness, chronic pain, problems accessing healthcare, a history of adverse childhood experiences, and family conflicts.
Older people who, before the pandemic, perceived that their income was insufficient to meet their basic needs, or who had less savings, were more likely to develop depression during the pandemic.
“These findings highlight the disproportionate mental health burden borne by individuals of lower socioeconomic status during the pandemic.
“Many of these socioeconomic risk factors may have been exacerbated by the economic instability of the pandemic, especially for low-resource individuals.
The study found that people who experienced different aspects of loneliness, such as feelings of alienation, isolation, and lack of companionship, had an approximately 4- to 5-fold higher risk of both developing and relapsing depression.
“It is not surprising that lockdown has been particularly difficult for older people who have been isolated and lonely during the pandemic.
“Social connections and social support are essential for well-being and mental health. People who are isolated need better support and outreach,” said co-author Ying Jiang.
Seniors who have chronic pain or who have difficulty accessing their usual healthcare, medications and treatments are more likely to be depressed in the fall of 2020, the study says.
“The findings underscore the importance of streamlining service delivery in order to reduce disruption to healthcare services during future pandemics,” said co-author Professor Paul J. Villeneuve. I’m here.
The study also found that those who experienced childhood adversity were more likely to be depressed in the fall of 2020. Older adults who experienced family conflict during the pandemic had more than three times the risk of depression compared to their peers who did not. .
“Family conflict is a major stressor that can affect mental health even in the best of times.
“Many family relationships have taken a considerable toll due to the mandatory lockdown and the stress of the pandemic. The ensuing conflict was a significant risk of depression,” said Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson of the University of Toronto. increase.