Health & Wellness

Canadians 65-Plus Are Having Less COVID Anxiety

According to a poll, those 55 to 64 are having a harder time than older Canadians

By Caitlin Finlay


Among older Canadians, those 65 or older seem to suffering less pandemic-related anxiety than those aged 55 to 64, and men say they’re less stressed than women.

In an effort to gather what it called “evidence that can lead to a better quality of life during and after current and future pandemics,” the Canadian Frailty Network conducted a national survey of 4,380 Canadians aged 55-plus between August 10 and October 10, 2020. Concerned with the needs of older people, the Network is supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program.

The study grouped respondents into subsets by gender, age (those between the ages of 55 to 64 and those over 65), and sexual orientation—heterosexual men and women and those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB).

The survey results showed that while adults over 65 are at greater risk for long-term effects from COVID-19, Canadians aged 55 to 64 were suffering more income loss, stress, depression, and anxiety. Nevertheless, those 55 to 64 were less likely to follow public health regulations such as social distancing and wearing a mask, and were less likely to seek support from friends or family.

Women were more likely than men to follow public health regulations but also had more COVID-related stress for reasons that included less support from friends and family, more change in daily routines, and more chronic health concerns. The LGB sub-group were also more likely to follow public health regulations, and more likely to seek social support and to exercise.

The survey also asked about respondents’ long-term planning. While 65% of survey participants had completed a will, fewer than 40% had completed other advance-care planning (ACP) documents that dictate future wishes for care and end of life, including various powers of attorney. Women were more likely than men, and LGB adults were more likely than heterosexual adults, to have completed ACP documents. While 43% of participants had had discussions about future care needs since the pandemic began, few had updated any relevant documents.

Photo: iStock/humonia.