Covid doubled mental health risk, financial problems in elderly: Study

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London– Older adults appear to be twice as likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, alongside suffering from financial difficulties after contracting Covid-19, finds a study.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that 49 per cent of older adults with a probable Covid infection had clinically significant depressive symptoms, compared with 22 per cent of those without infection.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of people with probable infection were identified as having anxiety, compared with 6 per cent of those without infection.

These adverse effects lasted for up to six months after the presumed start of infection and appeared to worsen.

In addition, an estimated 40 per cent of older people with probable Covid-19 infection experienced more financial difficulties than before the pandemic, compared with 20 per cent of those without infection. Feelings of loneliness were also twice as high in older people with probable infection than in those without.

“Our study shows that older adults with probable Covid-19 infection experienced higher levels of depression and anxiety, poorer quality of life, elevated feelings of loneliness, and greater financial difficulties compared with those without probable infection. This was evident both in the acute phase of the infection and up to six months later,” said lead author Dr. Ellie Iob from the University College London.

“These results suggest that the adverse psychosocial impact of Covid-19 infection is long-lasting and more broadly present across the population. We encourage anyone who may be experiencing issues with their mental health or well-being to speak to their GP,” Iob added.

For the study, the team used data from 5,146 adults between the ages of 52 and 74. The participants provided data before the pandemic (2018-19) and at two Covid-19 assessments in 2020 (June-July and November-December). (IANS)

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