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Evidence review: loneliness in later life

Author(s)

DAVIDSON Susan, ROSSALL Phil

Publication year:

2014

A summary of available evidence from research on loneliness in the community in later life. Loneliness can be understood as an individual’s personal, subjective sense of lacking desired affection, closeness, and social interaction with others. Over 1 million older people say they are always or often feel lonely and nearly half of them say that television or pets are their main form of company. The report reviews the literature on measuring and quantifying loneliness and on factors associated with loneliness in later life, including age, ethnicity and language, sex, living arrangements and marital status, geography, housing, health, income, informal care and sexual orientation. The review considers the evidence on the impact of loneliness on older people and the most common social interaction interventions for older people. These include: specialised groups targeting older people, community engagement, befriending, gatekeeping, and the internet. The review includes an appendix on social support and its sources. (Edited publisher abstract)


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