Background: Older adults have proven their ability to overcome adversities throughout their life. This integrative review aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults and provide recommendations for assessment and care practices.
Methods: We searched electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, OvidSP, and CINAHL, for all relevant published work. We identified additional resources through discussion with experts in the field, hand searches of relevant resources, and examination of the reference lists of articles in our search results. Any published literature about emotional distress among older adults due to COVID-19 was discussed. We used Whittemore and Knafl's methodology to guide this integrative review (2005).
Results: Older adults did not evidence higher emotional distress than during the initial lockdown. Studies showed that depression remained stable and anxiety significantly decreased. Oldest old participants showed less anxiety than younger old ones. Furthermore, being a male, resilient, and accepting were related to the decrease of anxiety. Otherwise, fear of the COVID-19 outbreak was related with the increase of anxiety.
Conclusion: Older adults may adapt to the adverse pandemic impact by using more adaptive resources that reduce their distress. Efforts to ameliorate older adults’ anxiety by focusing on older adults’ personal resources should be considered. Nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers must include the assessment of a patients’ adaptable resources in their clinical assessments in order to encourage patient resourcefulness.