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There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
Social support programs for dementia caregivers were widely used in order to reduce care burden. We investigated which types of social supports can reduce psychological and non-psychological burdens of dementia caregivers, and explored the mechanism of those social supports.
We evaluated 731 community-dwelling dementia patients and their caregivers from the National Survey of Dementia Care in South Korea. We investigated the five types of social supports (emotional support, informational support, tangible support, positive social interaction, affectionate support) using the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey in each caregiver. The mechanisms of specific types of social support on psychological/non-psychological burden were examined using path analysis.
Positive social interaction and affectionate support reduced psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Tangible support reduced the non-psychological burden via direct and indirect paths. Informational support and emotional support were not helpful for reducing psychological or non-psychological burden. A maximum of 20% of psychological burden could be relieved by positive social interaction and 10.3% of that could be reduced by affectionate support. Tangible support was associated with a 15.1% maximal improvement in non-psychological burden.
In order to reduce caregiver burden in dementia effectively, psychosocial interventions should be tailored to target type of caregiver burden.
Background: The influences of demographics, culture, language, and environmental changes on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores are considerable.
Methods: Using a sample of 7452 healthy, community-dwelling elderly Koreans, aged 55 to 94 years, who participated in the four ongoing geriatric cohorts in Korea, we investigated demographic influences on MMSE scores and derived normative data for this population. Geropsychiatrists strictly excluded subjects with cognitive disorders according to the protocol of the Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Packet (CERAD-K) Clinical Assessment Battery (CERAD-K-C).
Results: Education (standardized β = 0.463), age (standardized β = −0.303), and gender (standardized β = −0.057) had significant effects on MMSE scores (p < 0.001). The score of MMSE increase 0.379 point per 1-year education, decrease 0.188 per 1-year older, and decrease 0.491 in women compared to men. Education explained 30.4% of the scores’ total variance, which was much larger than the variances explained by age (8.4%) or gender (0.3%). Accordingly, we present normative data for the MMSE stratified by education (0, 1–3, 4–6, 7–9, 10–12, and ≥ 13 years), age (60–69, 70–79, and 80–89 years), and gender.
Conclusions: We provide contemporary education-, age-, and gender-stratified norms for the MMSE, derived from a large, community-dwelling elderly Korean population sample, which could be useful in evaluating individual MMSE scores.
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