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Depression is globally a crucial communal psychiatric disorder, which is more common in older adults. The situation is considerably worse among millions of older (forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals or FDMNs) Rohingya adults, and the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may exacerbate the already existing precarious situation. The present study investigated depressive symptoms and their associated factors in older adult Rohingya FDMNs in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 416 older adults aged 60 years and above residing in Rohingya camps situated in the South Eastern part of Bangladesh were interviewed using a 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) in Bengali language. Chi-square test was performed to compare the prevalence of depressive symptoms within different categories of a variable and a binary logistic regression model was performed to determine the factors associated with depressive symptoms.
More than 41% of Rohingya older adults had depressive symptoms (DS). Socio-demographic and economic factors such as living alone, dependency on family for living, poor memory, feelings of being left out, difficulty in getting medicine and routine medical care during COVID-19, perception that older adults are at highest risk of COVID-19 and pre-existing non-communicable chronic conditions were found to be significantly associated with developing DS. Higher DS was also evident among older female Rohingya FDMNs.
DS are highly prevalent in older Rohingya FDMNs during COVID-19. The findings of the present study call for immediate arrangement of mental health care services and highlight policy implications to ensure the well-being of older FDMNs.
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