57% Senior Citizens In India Experienced Mental Health Problems During COVID-19: Survey

The COVID-19 epidemic continues to wreak havoc. The last two years haven’t just been tough. They have also seen many lose. Senior citizens of India and people with co-morbidities are most affected by coronavirus waves in India and around the world.

In addition to serious health illnesses, the elderly also experienced mental and emotional problems during the coronavirus epidemic. Antara’s ‘State of Seniors Survey’ which covers 2,100 seniors aged 60 years and above shows that 57 percent of seniors experienced mental health problems during Covid-19.

Providing an insight into the lives, opinions, preferences and consumer behavior characteristics of senior citizens in urban India, the second edition of the survey also concluded that the number of seniors believed to have managed the epidemic well has risen to 53 per cent in 2022.

The study found that 70 percent of the elderly do not have access to proper health care, with more than 57 percent of them experiencing mental health problems. With 81 per cent, Mumbai seniors have faced the most such problems, followed by Bangalore and Pune at 70 per cent, Delhi at 64 per cent and Jaipur at 51 per cent. Hyderabad was an exception as 94 percent of the elderly did not experience any mental health problems.

The survey said, “In addition to the worries about their safety, access to basic healthcare facilities, groceries, medicines, among others, was strained, especially during the second wave, seniors experienced more mental health problems such as depression and health-related anxiety.”

Fear of infection was the most common and the main reason that contributed to the growing mental health concerns in the elderly, with 65 percent of them experiencing trauma. With 58 percent, social isolation followed the fear of infection among seniors. About 53 percent feared anxiety due to Covid-19, the study found.

It may be recalled that despite being prepared by the big challenge, the Government of India managed the Covid-19 epidemic efficiently. Multiple measures were introduced by the Center to deal with the struggling economy of the country.

It is worth mentioning that the government pushed for aggressive vaccination in the country as indigenous vaccines such as Covaxin and Covishield made rapid advances in their research and development. The survey showed, “All these measures changed the perception of the people of the country, including the seniors. The number of seniors who felt the government managed the pandemic well rose from 23 percent (observed in the first edition of Antara’s survey) to 59% in 2022.”