The mental well-being of older adults after the first wave of COVID-19
Epidemic control measures that aim to introduce social distancing help to decelerate the spread of the
COVID-19 pandemic. However, their consequences in terms of mental well-being might be negative,
especially for older adults. While existing studies mainly focus on the time during the first lockdown,
we look at the weeks afterwards in order to measure the medium-term consequences of the first wave of
the pandemic. Using data from the SHARE Corona Survey, we include retired respondents aged 60 and
above from 26 European countries plus Israel. Combining SHARE data with macro data from the Oxford
COVID-19 Government Response Tracker allows us to include macro indicators at the country level,
namely deaths per capita and the number of days with stringent epidemic control measures, in addition
to individual characteristics. The findings show that both macro indicators are influential for increased
feelings of sadness/depression, but that individual factors are crucial for explaining increased feelings
of loneliness in the time after the first lockdown. Models with interaction terms reveal that the included
macro indicators have negative well-being consequences, particularly for the oldest survey participants.
Additionally, the results reveal that those living alone had a higher risk for worsened mental well-being
in the time after the first COVID-19 wave.