Stress and coping in older Australians during COVID-19: health, service utilization, grandparenting, and technology use

Paul Strutt*, Carly J. Johnco, Jessamine Chen, Courtney Muir, Olivia Maurice, Piers Dawes, Joyce Siette, Cintia Botelho Dias, Heidi Hillebrandt, Viviana Wuthrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: This study examined the impacts of COVID-19 lockdown on health and lifestyle factors for older adults in Sydney, Australia. The study examined demographic differences, social engagement, loneliness, physical activity, emotion regulation, technology use, and grandparenting experiences and their contribution to emotional health and quality of life during lockdown. Methods: Participants were 201 community-dwelling older adults (60-87 years, M = 70.55, SD = 6.50; 67.8% female) who completed self-report scales measuring physical and emotional health outcomes, quality of life, health service utilization, changes in diet and physical activity, impacts on grandparenting roles, and uptake of new technology. Results: One-third of older adults experienced depression, and 1 in 5 were experienced elevated anxiety and/or psychological distress during lockdown. Specific emotion regulation strategies, better social and family engagement, and new technology use were associated with better emotional health and quality of life. 63% of older adults used new technologies to connect with others. Conclusions: Older adults were adaptable and resilient during lockdown, demonstrating high uptake of new technologies to remain connected to others, while negative emotional health outcomes were linked to loneliness and unhelpful emotion regulation. Clinical Implications: Further diversifying use of video technologies may facilitate improved physical and emotional health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Volume45
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • aging
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • diet
  • emotion regulation
  • exercise
  • healthcare
  • mental health
  • service utilisation
  • technology use

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