“Adapting to a New Reality”: Older Adults’ Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mariana T Guzzardo 1 * , Jodie Oshana 2, Abigail Balkin 3, Irina Todorova 4

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 188-208

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This qualitative study explores the perceived challenges for older adults during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they worked on overcoming this adversity. Our sample (n=50), derived from a larger study, includes individuals 60 or older in Puerto Rico and the United States. Data were collected through an online questionnaire between May and August 2020 and analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis. Themes describe resilience through reflection and adaptation, critique of systemic problems and injustices, and reaffirmation of values and what is important. Considering the detrimental effect of the pandemic context on the older population, understanding their experiences and sources of strength can improve how they are supported in future crises.

Keywords: older adults, pandemic, COVID-19, reflexive thematic analysis, qualitative, Puerto Rico.