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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-19

Mild anxiety and depression disorders: Unusual reactions to COVID-19 lockdown in caregivers of older adults attending a psychogeriatric clinic in Southwest Nigeria

Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Olufisayo Oluyinka Elugbadebo
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, P.M.B 5017, (G.P.O), Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_708_21

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Background: Many sub-Saharan African countries have fragile healthcare systems and the mental health care of older adults is in a precarious state. The lockdown that accompanied COVID-19 infection was another monumental event. Objective: This study examined the effect of the restriction and lockdown on the mental health of the caregivers of older patients attending a psychogeriatric clinic in Ibadan, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: We selected 178 dyads of patients and their caregivers. These caregivers were administered a semi-structured questionnaire that collected demographic information and asked questions on effect of COVID-19 on caregiving. In addition, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and generalised anxiety disorder-7 item scale were administered. Participants were interviewed through telephone. Results: One hundred and seventy-eight patients' caregivers' dyads were interviewed. About 62.4% of the caregivers were children of the patients. More importantly, 97.2% and 93.8% had neither depressive nor anxiety symptoms and the caregivers expressed little worry about COVID-19. There was no significant difference in the mean depressive and anxiety scores in caregivers of patients with and without dementia (F = 0.28, P = 0.60). Caregivers who were lesser than 50 years in age had significantly higher mean score compared with those who were 50 years and above (F = 5.54, P = 0.03). Conclusion: The rate of anxiety and depressive symptoms was very low in this cohort as the lockdown during the pandemic produced little distress to caregivers including those caring for patients with dementia and cognitive impairment. This is a deviation from reports of some other countries and cultures which described psychological implications of COVID-19 on caregivers as severe.

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