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

Ganesh M. Babulal, Valeria L. Torres, Daisy Acosta, Cinthya Agüero, Sara Aguilar-Navarro, Rebecca Amariglio, Juliana Aya Ussui, Ana Baena, Yamile Bocanegra, Sonia Maria Dozzi Brucki, Julian Bustin, Diego M. Cabrera, Nilton Custodio, Monica M. Diaz, Lissette Duque Peñailillo, Idalid Franco, Jennifer R. Gatchel, Ana Paola Garza-Naveda, Mariana González Lara, Lidia Gutiérrez-GutiérrezEdmarie Guzmán-Vélez, Bernard J. Hanseeuw, Ivonne Z. Jimenez-Velazquez, Tomás León Rodríguez, Jorge Llibre-Guerra, María J. Marquine, Jairo Martinez, Luis D. Medina, Claudia Miranda-Castillo, Alejandra Morlett Paredes, Diana Munera, Alberto Nuñez-Herrera, Maira Okada de Oliveira, Santiago J. Palmer-Cancel, Enmanuelle Pardilla-Delgado, Jaime Perales-Puchalt, Celina Pluim, Liliana Ramirez-Gomez, Dorene M. Rentz, Claudia Rivera-Fernández, Monica Rosselli, Cecilia M. Serrano, Maria Jose Suing-Ortega, Andrea Slachevsky, Marcio Fernando Soto Añari, Reisa A. Sperling, Fernando Torrente, Daniela Thumala, Patrizia Vannini, Clara Vila-Castelar, Tatiana Yañez-Escalante, Yakeel T. Quiroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100848
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Thumala reports personal fees from National Agency for Research and Development, during the conduct of the study. Dr. Miranda-Castillo reports grants and personal fees from National Agency for Research and Development, during the conduct of the study. Dr. Gatchel reports grants from NIH/NIA, grants from Alzheimer's Association, and served as a one-time consultant with Huron Consulting, outside the submitted work. Dr. Sperling reports personal fees from Roche, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Eisai, Biogen, AC Immune, Neurocentria, Janssen, Neuraly, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Renew, JOMDD, Acumen, Prothena, Cytox, Oligomerix, Inc., and Genentech; grants from Eisai, Eli Lilly, Janssen, NIA, and Alzheimer's Association; personal fees and honorarium (consulting) for Dr. Sperling's spouse (Dr. Keith Johnson) from Novartis, AC Immune, Janssen, and Cerveau, outside the submitted work. Dr. Rentz reports consulting from Digital Cognition Technologies, Neurotrack, and Biogen Idec, outside the submitted work. All other authors have nothing to declare.

Funding Information:
GMB was supported by the NIH National Institute on Aging- NIA ( R01AG056466 , R01AG067428 , R01AG068183 ), DT was supported by ANID/FONDAP/15150012, CV-C is supported by a grant from the Alzheimer's Association ( 2019A005859 ), EG-V was supported by the NIA K23AG061276, YTQ was supported by grants from the NIH NIA ( R01 AG054671 ), the Alzheimer's Association, and Massachusetts General Hospital ECOR.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • COVID-19
  • Cognition
  • Diversity
  • Latin America
  • Older adults
  • US
  • Well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of COVID-19 on the well-being and cognition of older adults living in the United States and Latin America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this