The impact of COVID-19 on the well-being and cognition of older adults living in the United States and Latin America

Background: In the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults from vulnerable ethnoracial groups are at high risk of infection, hospitalization, and death. We aimed to explore the pandemic's impact on the well-being and cognition of older adults living in the United States (US), Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. Methods: 1,608 (646 White, 852 Latino, 77 Black, 33 Asian; 72% female) individuals from the US and four Latin American countries aged ≥ 55 years completed an online survey regarding well-being and cognition during the pandemic between May and September 2020. Outcome variables (pandemic impact, discrimination, loneliness, purpose of life, subjective cognitive concerns) were compared across four US ethnoracial groups and older adults living in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. Findings: Mean age for all participants was 66.7 (SD = 7.7) years and mean education was 15.4 (SD = 2.7) years. Compared to Whites, Latinos living in the US reported greater economic impact (p < .001, ηp2 = 0.031); while Blacks reported experiencing discrimination more often (p < .001, ηp2 = 0.050). Blacks and Latinos reported more positive coping (p < .001, ηp2 = 0.040). Compared to Latinos living in the US, Latinos in Chile, Mexico, and Peru reported greater pandemic impact, Latinos in Mexico and Peru reported more positive coping, Latinos in Argentina, Mexico, and Peru had greater economic impact, and Latinos in Argentina, Chile, and Peru reported less discrimination. Interpretation: The COVID-19 pandemic has differentially impacted the well-being of older ethnically diverse individuals in the US and Latin America. Future studies should examine how mediators like income and coping skills modify the pandemic's impact. Funding: Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry.