The CO-MAsk Approach: Tips for Fostering Mask Use Among Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Marina Maffoni
  • Valeria Torlaschi
  • Paola Gabanelli
  • Paola Abelli
  • Antonia Pierobon


Face masks are effective at limiting contagion of the coronavirus. However, adherence to face mask use among the older adult population is often unsatisfactory due to cognitive impairment, misconceptions, and difficulty in retrieving face masks. This brief note provides healthcare professionals with simple suggestions about how to improve face mask adoption in the older adults, in particular if they suffer from mild cognitive impairment. Thus, clinical reflections and psychoeducational suggestions are summarized into a simple mental roadmap. Specifically, the CO-MAsk approach underlines the necessity to consider the following factors: Cognition (possible cognitive impairment), Occasions (real chances to access correct information and proper protection equipment), Motivation (individual motivation towards sanitary prescriptions) and Assumptions (personal beliefs and understandings). Possible obstacles and practical suggestions for are also discussed. It is of paramount importance that healthcare professionals pay attention to emotional, cognitive and psychological aspects to effectively improve the face masks adherence among older adults, specifically when cognitive decline is present.