This study explores how home- and community-based services use, COVID-19-related worries and social disruptions are related to the depressive symptoms of community-dwelling older adults with disabilities, and whether the associations differ by month of interview.
Data on a sample of 593 older individuals in Taiwan were collected between April and July 2020. Multiple regression analyses were performed to test the hypothesized relationships.
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan continuously declined from April 2020, participants who were interviewed in May, June and July experienced significantly fewer COVID-19-related worries and social disruptions than those interviewed in April. The month interviewed, representing the pandemic development phase of COVID-19, moderated the relationships between home-based service (HBS) use and COVID-19 worries. Month interviewed also moderated the association between COVID-19-related social disruptions and depressive symptoms.
Differences in the level of COVID-19-related worries between HBS users and non-users were greatest in April, followed by May, and least in June and July, suggesting that the disparities between HBS users and non-users attenuated over time. Perceived high COVID-19-related social disruptions was weakly and negatively correlated with depressive symptoms in April, but the relationship became moderately positive in May, and strongly positive in June and July. These results supported the claim that the associations between COVID-19-related social disruptions and depressive symptoms can vary over time. Professionals who serve disabled older individuals in communities should be aware of their unstated needs and adopt strategies that are appropriate for the current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic to respond better to their needs and emotional state.