Social distancing and ‘stay-at-home’ orders are essential to contain the coronavirus outbreak; however, it has affected older adults very negatively psychosocially. The present study explored the impact of a videoconferencing-implemented program on older adults’ psychosocial health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We carried out this experimental research with pretest-posttest and control groups between November 02 to December 26, 2020 on individuals aged 60 years and over who were enrolled at Fethiye Refreshment University (60+ FRU). While the intervention group consisted of 40 people, we recruited 52 participants in the control group. Unlike the control group, the intervention group participated in a structured videoconferencing program held there days a week for 8 weeks. We collected the data using the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPS), the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21), and the Loneliness Scale for Elderly (LSE). The data were then analysed on the SPSS 22.0 program.
The participants had a mean age of 66.13 ± 5.13 years; 65.2% were females, 58.7% were married, 55.4% held a university degree and 93.5% had a regular income. Following the intervention, we found the experimental group to have significantly a lower posttest FCV-19S score (p < 0.05) and a higher posttest MSPS score than the control group (p < 0.05). Besides, the experimental group had significantly lower posttest scores on the DASS-21 and the anxiety and stress subscales than the control group (p < 0.05). Moreover, the posttest score of the experiential group on the emotional loneliness subscale (LSE) was found to be significantly lower than that of the control group (p < 0.05); nevertheless, we could not conclude significant differences between the groups’ pretest and posttest LSE scores and their scores on the other LSE subscales (p > 0.05).
Overall, the videoconferencing program was found to be efficient in providing older adults with psychosocial support amid social isolation.