Occupational adaptation of elders living in low-income housing during the pandemics: occupational needs and profiles of adaptation
Sarah-Maude Thibault, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada
Ginette Aubin, Nadine Larivière, Lyson Marcoux, Emmanuelle Savard and Corinne Langlois, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada
The sanitary measures associated with COVID-19 pandemics made it difficult, if not impossible, for seniors living in low-income housing to have any social contact, as well as to use many community resources. Therefore, these persons were confronted with the poverty of their social network, the need to change their habits and routines and to use their time differently. In this context, a study focused on the occupational needs of these elders and the strategies used to adapt their time use to the sanitary confinement context.
The objective of this paper is to describe the residents’ occupational needs and extent of perceived change in their activities and to identify profiles of occupational adaptation in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A multiple case study design was used to address the research objective. Nineteen senior residents participated in a semi-structured interview inspired from the Do Live Well (DWL) model (Moll, 2015). Following the interviews, qualitative data were obtained. A multiple case analysis process drawing on Yin’s approach (2013) was conducted including writing summaries of verbatims for each participant, creating matrices, and identifying key variables leading to the identification of occupational adaptation profiles.
The preliminary results of this study indicate that the least well met occupational needs were the need to connect with others (9/19 pers) and to experience moments of pleasure and joy (11/19 pers). On the contrary, the needs related to building one’s prosperity and financial security (18/19 pers) and the needs related to developing one’s abilities and potential (16/19 pers), such as reading and watching documentaries, were the most fulfilled. Three different occupational adaptation profiles were identified based on 1) the ability of individuals to draw on their internal and external resources to meet their occupational needs, 2) their experience of change due to the sanitary measures and 3) level of satisfaction with their activities. Thus, residents who experienced a lot of change either used their resources effectively and were satisfied with their activities, or their use of their resources was ineffective, and they experienced dissatisfaction. Those who experienced little change did not have to modify their resource use and were generally satisfied with their activities. Factors specific to each profile were identified such as the quality of support from their social environment and the variety of sources of social contacts.
Unsurprisingly, the least met need was for social contact during the pandemic, where social contact was limited by public health measures. The needs that were best met were those that were more accessible during the pandemic possibly because they could be done alone on their own at home. In the context of restrictions and health measures of the pandemic, an heterogeneity of responses related to occupational adaptation was observed as the three profiles tend to demonstrate. The social network seemed to be an essential ingredient for occupational adaptation in such a context. Further studies with larger samples will allow us to deepen our understanding of the determining factors for the occupational adaptation of residents.