COULTON Simon, et al
Aims: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of community group singing for a population of older people in England. Method: A pilot pragmatic individual randomised controlled trial comparing group singing with usual activities in those aged 60 years or more. Results: A total of 258 participants were recruited across five centres in East Kent. At 6 months post-randomisation, significant differences were observed in terms of mental health-related quality of life measured using the SF12 in favour of group singing. In addition, the intervention was found to be marginally more cost-effective than usual activities. At 3 months, significant differences were observed for the mental health components of quality of life, anxiety and depression. Conclusions: Community group singing appears to have a significant effect on mental health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression, and it may be a useful intervention to maintain and enhance the mental health of older people.
SHVEDKO Anastasia, et al
Objectives: This article reviews the effects of physical activity (PA) interventions on social isolation, loneliness or low social support in older adults.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
Method: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cochrane CENTRAL, CINAHL, were screened up to February 2017. RCTs comparing PA versus non-PA interventions or control (sedentary) condition were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the 12 criteria Cochrane Review Book Group risk of bias. The outcome measures were: social isolation, loneliness, social support, social networks, and social functioning. Standardised mean differences (SMDs) with associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for continuous outcomes. Meta-analysis was performed using a random effects model.
Results: The search strategy identified 38 RCTs, with a total of 5288 participants, of which 26 had a low risk of bias and 12 had a high risk of bias. Meta-analysis was performed on 23 RCTs. A small significant positive effect favouring the experimental condition was found for social functioning with strongest effects obtained for PA interventions, diseased populations, group exercise setting, and delivery by a medical healthcare provider. No effect of PA was found for loneliness, social support, or social networks.
Conclusion: This review shows, for social functioning, the specific aspects of PA interventions can successfully influence social health. PA did not appear to be effective for loneliness, social support and social networks.
LAWLOR Brian, et al
Loneliness is a significant problem among older people living in Ireland. The negative effects of loneliness on physical and emotional health are well documented in the literature. This study was established in the context of a dearth of effective interventions to alleviate loneliness. A peer visiting intervention for community dwelling older adults experiencing loneliness was designed and subjected to the rigour of a randomised controlled trial. It consisted of ten home visits to the intervention participants from a volunteer, themselves an older person. The volunteer built up a rapport with the participant and encouraged them to identify a social connection they wished to establish. Several participants made new social connections outside their home while most continued to receive visits from their volunteer following the end of the study period. The main study finding was very positive. The primary outcome, loneliness, decreased in the intervention group at one month and three month follow up. Potential benefits for the volunteers were also identified, in particular a decrease in loneliness. Both participants and volunteers reported that they enjoyed the intervention. The intervention is low cost and could be incorporated into existing support services or non-government organisations caring for community dwelling older adults. It is a potentially scalable model to deal with the major societal challenge of loneliness.