J Appl Gerontol. 2022 Jun 13:7334648221108279. doi: 10.1177/07334648221108279. Online ahead of print.
Older adults in affordable housing are at risk for mental health problems, physical vulnerability, and isolation. We examine the role of an activities program in buffering the influence of life stressors on the mental health of seniors in congregate housing, using a non-experimental pretest-posttest study design. Results based upon repeated measures analyses (N = 29), found statistically significant (p < .05) program by time effects for depression, coping strategies, positive affect, isolation, and resident satisfaction. Analyses based upon independent samples of pretest and posttest measures (N = 60) were considerably less strong, but consistent in yielding similar patterns to those of the longitudinally gathered data. Our longitudinal findings substantiate the positive impact of the Engage with Age program in supporting older adults living in congregate housing. Researchers need to develop strategies to assess and support the mental health of older persons in low-income urban congregate living in the larger context of COVID-19.