The Importance of Social Integration and Engagement in Ensuring Older Adult Preparedness for an Endemic COVID-19

Conference: The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology (AGen2022)
Title: The Importance of Social Integration and Engagement in Ensuring Older Adult Preparedness for an Endemic COVID-19
Stream: Aging and Gerontology
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Paulin Tay Straughan, Singapore Management University, Singapore
Grace Li Ling Cheong, Singapore Management University, Singapore
Mindy Eiko Tadai, Singapore Management University, Singapore
Micah Chongsheng Tan, Singapore Management University, Singapore


COVID-19 has revealed itself to be a prolonged issue leading most countries to adopt an ‘endemic’ approach to the disease. It has thus become prudent to identify the factors that would enable vulnerable populations such as older adults to both cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease. As such, this paper examines the importance of social integration in helping older adults to both live with COVID-19 and adapt to the endemic. Drawing on data from the Singapore Life Panel (SLP), a monthly panel survey of adults aged between 57-76 (in 2022) in Singapore that has been running since 2015, this study draws relations using cross-sectional analyses of the data between social integration and engagement (measured using an adaption of Keyes’ social well-being instrument) and several indicators of pandemic and endemic preparedness such as mental preparedness for living with the endemic, and willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19. Ultimately, we present preliminary evidence that social integration is an important factor that reinforces older adults’ confidence to live alongside COVID-19. Longer-term interventions should also work to increase the social engagement of older adults in their communities. More specifically, initiatives should go beyond merely interacting with older adults to prevent their social isolation by also ensuring that older adults have socially meaningful roles to play in their communities. This is essential as society adapts both to the prospect of living with an endemic COVID-19, as well as the demographic trend of an ageing population.

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