• Beth Perdue

Study says older adults show resilience in face of pandemic-related stress

There’s good news about how older people are responding to stress from the coronavirus pandemic from Kaiser Health News.


An article on the KHN site says the lifetime experiences of seniors has helped them build resilience to pandemic-related trauma.


The article cites data that some older adults have changed their behaviors and routines in response to the pandemic, practicing physical distancing.


In an online survey of 825 adults age 60 and older, respondents said they were connecting and interacting with others in a variety of ways including on digital platforms, in hobbies and with family, friends, and pets to varying degrees.


“I would argue these sources of joy and comfort, these coping resources, are even more important” as stress related to the pandemic persists, study author Brenda Whitehead told KHN.


It’s uncertain if seniors will maintain these benefits through the long-term nature of the pandemic; however, their resilience is important to note, if only to counter typical narratives of seniors as frail and dependent on others, according to Brian Carpenter, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.


“There are some older adults who are doing quite well during the pandemic and have actually expanded their social networks and activities,” Carpenter told KHN. “But you don’t hear about them because the pandemic narrative reinforces stereotypes of older adults as frail, disabled and dependent.”


The article also notes ways that seniors have changed their routines to keep themselves safe from the virus and ways in which they still struggle with isolation and loneliness.


To read the full article, go here.


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