Older Adult Mental Health Considerations and Differences in the COVID-19 Context: A Mixed Methods Study
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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted older adult mental health in Ontario. Information around the aging and mental health considerations of older adults and their support network is lacking. There is also a knowledge gap regarding differences in older adults’ mental health since the pandemic onset. Research Questions: This thesis asked two research questions: 1. What are the considerations older adults, their caregivers, and health or social care providers have regarding aging and mental health support, care, and treatment, as identified during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? 2. Are there differences in mental health indicators, supports, care, or treatments for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic? Methods: A pragmatic approach was applied to a follow-up quantitative mixed methods study design involving the qualitative framework analysis of free-form survey responses (n = 268), and the quantitative analysis of first-time homecare assessments conducted in Ontario. Results: Four core areas of consideration around aging and mental health were identified: key principles that influence the experiences and outcomes of older adults; societal- and system-level factors affecting older adult mental health; valuable services, supports, and programs; and mental health experiences and outcomes as mapped to the dual-continuum model of mental health. Analysis of n = 96,919 homecare assessments indicated older adults during the pandemic had poorer mental health experiences and outcomes, even when controlling for clinical and demographic differences. Conclusions: Understanding COVID-19 related older adult mental health differences and key considerations relating to aging and mental health can inform the design and application of resources for Ontarian older adults.
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Elizabeth Kalles (2022). Older Adult Mental Health Considerations and Differences in the COVID-19 Context: A Mixed Methods Study. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18462