Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Social isolation and loneliness among older people: issues and future challenges in community and residential settings

Linda Grenade and Duncan Boldy

Australian Health Review 32(3) 468 - 478
Published: 2008


Although often associated with older age, loneliness and social isolation are not well understood in terms of their prevalence, risk and protective factors. Evidence suggests that only a minority of community-dwelling older people are ?severely? lonely or isolated, however a number of factors need to be considered to fully understand the extent and significance of the problem. Community- based studies have identified a variety of risk factors for loneliness/isolation including widowhood, no (surviving) children, living alone, deteriorating health, and life events (eg, loss and bereavement). Having a confidant has been identified as a protective factor for loneliness. However, evidence is often unclear or inconclusive, especially within residential settings. We identified the need to conduct more residential care-focused research; the importance of addressing a variety of methodological concerns; and the need for practitioners to develop intervention programs that are appropriately targeted, evidence-based and evaluated.

© AHHA 2008

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