Scope - COVID-19 and mental wellness of older people


To understand the safety behaviours of local older adults and the COVID-19 pandemic, the HKU research team and NGO partners conducted a telesurvey on 8,382 senior citizens aged 60 or above, during February to August 2020.


On safety precautions

Over 90% of older adults had epidemic prevention awareness and took action.

  • 99.5% would wear a mask outdoors
  • 98.6% would often wash hands
  • 92.6% would avoid crowded areas
  • 92.5% would avoid gatherings with family and friends

On receiving and providing help

  • 84% of older adults received support, including tangible materials of anti-epidemic supplies, and daily necessities, and financial support; and tangible materials of community care service and psychosocial support
  • 12% of older adults provided support to others

On mental wellness of older adults

  • 1 in 10 older adults reported depressive or anxiety symptoms in the pandemic. Among them, half reported both symptoms.
    • The rate of depressive or anxiety symptoms remained stable as compared to previous years
  • Some groups reported higher rates of depressive or anxiety symptoms than the others.
    • 12% of older adults aged 60 to 79 reported depressive or anxiety symptoms whereas 9% reported symptoms in older adults aged 80 or above
    • 12% of older adults who were female reported symptoms whereas 8% of male reported symptoms
    • 20% of older adults who were dementia carer reported symptoms whereas 10% of non-dementia carer reported symptoms