A gender gap in pandemic stress seems to exist, a new survey finds.
Most older adults overall report feeling optimistic and well supported, according to senior living review service Seniorly, which polled its members in the early part of 2021. Yet when compared with their male peers, older females were more likely to say that they were struggling on nearly every metric — from finances to mental health.
The monthly survey was conducted January to April, with approximately 500 responses per month. Questions gauged the opinions of U.S. seniors about their own well-being and quality of life in their later years.
Fully 84% of respondents said they felt mentally healthy. But women were more than twice as likely as men to report that they did not. And although the most-cited emotion during the study period was contentment, men were 35% more likely to report being content than were women.
Almost a third of respondents said that they could use more support. When the responses were broken down by gender, 38% of women reported a desire for additional support, whereas 25% of men said the same.
Feelings of strong community connection were notably low overall, at 23%. But women were slightly more likely than men to feel disconnected from their communities.
And although April saw a large spike in the percentage of seniors with improved finances — from 13% to 18% — older men were twice as likely as older women to see improvement, the surveyors said. Similarly, more women than men expressed anxiety about the cost of senior living and care, a concern that has remained consistent throughout the year, Seniorly added.
The overarching theme of the responses was resilience and optimism, which tracks with the results of other pandemic studies of seniors. But according to this analysis, women are much more likely than men to find themselves in the cohort of the stressed and concerned, the surveyors concluded.