OBJECTIVES: We examined sources of vulnerability and resilience among older adults early in the COVID-19 pandemic .
METHODS: We surveyed 235 respondents , 51-95 years old (M = 71.35; SD = 7.39; 74% female), including two open-ended questions concerning COVID-19-related difficulties and positive experiences during the past week . Using inductive coding, we found nine final codes for difficulties and 12 for positives and grouped them into socioecological levels: personal, interpersonal, and societal .
RESULTS: Difficulties were reported by 94% of the sample, while 63% described positives . Difficulties and positive responses were made at all socioecological levels and illustrated a dialectic between personal level constraints and opportunities, interpersonal level social isolation and integration, and societal level outrage, sorrow, and social optimism .
DISCUSSION: Respondents described sources of vulnerabilities and resilience that supported a socioecological approach to understanding resilience during this pandemic . A notable example was resilience derived from witnessing and contributing to community and social solidarity, highlighting the potential of older adults as resources to their communities during the global pandemic.