Exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on the lifestyles of community-living adults in Singapore: A qualitative study
Introduction: Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have not only restricted people from performing occupations but also adversely affected their health and quality of life. However, the impact of the pandemic on Singaporean adults at different life stages remains unclear. This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on a range of community-living age groups' occupations and sense of well-being.
Methods: Community-living adults in Singapore were invited to participate in this qualitative descriptive study. Thematic analysis was conducted to generate themes and identify common patterns (e.g. impacts on different occupations) in different age groups.
Findings: Twenty-nine semi-structured interviews (young adults: 10, middle-aged adults: 10, older adults: 9) were conducted and thematically analysed, revealing three main themes: (1) impact on occupations, (2) impacts on personal well-being, and (3) responses to COVID-19 situation. Participants from all age groups experienced both positive and negative impacts across various occupations, such as productivity (work and study), leisure, and self-care activities. Young and middle-aged adults were less affected as they were more proficient in using technology to make adequate adaptations. Older adults were least equipped with coping strategies and thus the most compromised. In response to the impacts of the pandemic on occupations and well-being, participants from different age groups adjusted differently (e.g. adopting a sedentary lifestyle and developing different coping strategies).
Conclusion: This study identified the impacts of COVID-19 on the daily occupations of Singaporean adults and how it is intricately linked with their well-being. Findings also revealed the significant role of technology in adapting to the COVID-19 situation. The younger Singaporean adults were more agile to make occupational changes and adaptations. More can be done by occupational therapists to assist community-living older adults to enable continued participation in meaningful occupations during pandemics.
Journal/Conference/Book titleAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal