As NSW heads into the 11th week of lockdown, and with most of the nation affected on and off over the past year, it has been found that older Aussies cope better than their younger counterparts.
Research at Macquarie University found that over 60s have proved more resilient from a mental health and psychological wellbeing perspective during this pandemic.
The study looked at 5000 people between the ages of 18 and 76 in August 2020 and found that older respondents had better emotional wellbeing in lockdown than those who were younger.
Professor Viviana Wuthrich, Director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Ageing, Cognition and Wellbeing, said that even though older people understood they were at greater risk if they got COVID, they still reported better mental health and better wellbeing.
“We've seen the same effects from studies in Spain, Canada and the Netherlands, and all found that older people were doing better than younger people,” she said.
"Although people reported being more isolated and more lonely, it wasn’t impacting greatly on levels of anxiety and depression."
The researchers found that living with someone was a key factor in pandemic resilience, as was access to technology as a tool to keep socially engaged.
And for grandparents, seeing their grandkids was a big plus.
“Those older people who were maintaining contact with grandchildren, whether via telephone or video conferencing, or in some cases, still face-to-face, were experiencing better mental health,” said Wuthrich.
Overall, the older generations were able to lean on lived experience to get by, using coping methods learned over a long lifetime to help get through stressful situations, something younger people haven't mastered.
“As people get older, they tend to have more positive emotions in their day and dwell less on negative emotions, and become better at adapting and accepting adverse situations,” Wuthrich said.
“There’s also findings that as people get older, they are more satisfied with their life, partly due to a modal shift in their motivation about what they think is important in life,” she says, adding that this explains the finding that those who coped best during lockdowns had more contact with their grandchildren.
“Younger people tend to focus more on longer-term values and aspirations – and these are things that may look like they will fundamentally change during a pandemic, rather than the day-to-day events.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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